In recent years, the adoption of technology and automation has been prominent among hospitals across the globe. This move into automation is directed at improving hospital inefficiencies, especially inefficiencies in medication distribution.
As the demand for healthcare services rises, automated medication dispensing systems have been introduced to decentralize pharmacies as means to improve patient care, boost staff performance, eliminate clinical errors, and reduce labor costs.
But how do automated medication dispensing systems for hospitals achieve the benefits mentioned above and make point-of-care available for patients?
Why Do Hospitals Need Automated Medication Dispensing Systems?
Traditionally, medication dispensing systems have been largely manual and pharmacist-led. Hospital employees usually make many trips around lock drawers, medicine warehouses, and anesthesia rooms to retrieve medication and supplies, which significantly slowed hospital workflow, ate up time from patient care, and made room for human-made errors.
These shortcomings of the healthcare industry could in turn cause the dissatisfaction of multiple medical parties as well as deprive patients of their right to adequate care. In the worst scenarios, the following two consequences could happen:
Missing Drug or High-value Medical Supply Could Incur Fines
For most hospitals, keeping track of medication in perioperative settings has been challenging.
As many medical decisions need to be changed or made on the spot to accommodate patient needs, many drugs can be issued but not used, or the usage quantity may exceed previous expectations. Or there may be back-to-back surgeries, where the medical staff only has time to track and log drug usage but ends up returning unused stock at the end of the day.
This frantic, often unpredictable nature of hospitals, riddled with emergencies, makes it difficult for hospital staff and physicians to keep track of medication distribution and manage inventory.
Thus, hospitals are prone to losing or missing drugs and high-value medical supplies, which may result in the hospital being charged a hefty fine, often millions of dollars. Furthermore, hospitals may even lose their previous fundings, which correlates directly to the quality and diversity of healthcare services they can provide to their patients.
Medical Dispute and Unsafe Drug Usage Due to Incorrect Administration
Another core issue of a traditional medication dispensing system is dispensing incorrect medication due to clinical error. Such mistakes, at small, can be inconvenient but, at large, can be detrimental to patient safety. Dispensing incorrect medication can delay patient treatment and cause potential harm, resulting in unsafe drug usage and medical disputes.
As medication errors are the top concern for hospitals and healthcare facilities, the investment in an automated medication dispensing system is a promising choice. An automated medication dispensing system reduces risks, provides secure access, and significantly minimizes the management workflow by enabling built-in tracking of medication and authorized access.
How does Automated Medication Dispensing System Eliminate Medical Errors?
It is almost inevitable and understandably that medical staff can make errors in a volatile hospital setting. Among the medical errors, the wrong dosage and infusion rate are the most common mistakes. However, the question is, how should healthcare facilities improve this area to enhance patient safety?
Security Mechanism: Closed-loop Process
As mentioned above, medical dispensing systems, such as automated dispensing cabinets, have been designed to reduce the prevalence of many hospital inefficiencies and human errors.
Since medication is directly retrieved from an automated dispensing cabinet, it provides high levels of security for pharmacists and nurses because the closed-loop medication management process makes distribution of medication to patients more effective and safe.
Furthermore, the medication dispensing system allows medical professionals to monitor narcotics issuance and administration while accurately following government regulations.
Manage Medicine Access
Since narcotics and controlled substances, primarily high-cost and health-sensitive medications, are often used in treatment, keeping them safe and limiting access to appropriate use is crucial.
Automated medication dispensing systems for hospitals ensure that only authorized pharmacists or nurses can open medication cabinets and only the required amount of medication dosage is dispensed by utilizing password entry and ID Badge scanning to verify identity.
Furthermore, a medication dispensing cabinet can provide enhanced security by allowing access to only one pill box or cabinet layer at a time to avoid human errors when retrieving medications. The automated medication dispensing system significantly minimizes the chance of medication loss, wastage, and diversion.
Flexible Dispensing Process
Automated medication dispensing systems also greatly enhance the hospital workflow without sacrificing patient safety. Workflow efficiency is improved by reducing the opportunity to make common dispensing errors, such as missing doses, exclusion of supplies, and incorrect patient names and drug names.
Through a flexible dispensing process, medical workers can scan prescriptions through medical order integration, which ensures more accuracy and reduces workload. Nurses then have more time to focus on better patient care; Pharmacists also save time by adopting an automated and fail-proof medication dispensing system.
Another perk of implementing an automated medication dispensing system is practical and convenient inventory management.
Since most medication dispensing systems have a fully visible inventory, medical staff can stay up to date on medication supply levels, stock, and usage in order to make the necessary adjustments.
An automated dispensing cabinet will send out real-time systematic alerts when the inventory level is low, or if there are damaged packages, so that medical professionals can promptly restock medication or supplies.
Therefore, an automated medication dispensing system gives medical staff greater control over their inventory and optimizes patient treatment plans.
The Features of imedtac Automated Dispensing Cabinet
imedatc has rolled out an automated dispensing cabinet to streamline the medication dispensation process in hospitals.
This automated medication dispensing system provides complete management reports on medication movement and allows hospital staff to customize drawer layouts to fit in any location and optimize convenience.
Upon receiving a medical order, the medication dispensing system also offers an intuitive scanning function that ensures the right prescription and dosage is given to the correct patient. In addition, imedtac’s automated dispensing cabinet can be easily integrated with HIS.
Since the needs for automation vary from hospitals to healthcare facilities, imedtac offers a variety of options to fit any requirements. Popular models include: iMADC-DKP-2D, a compact two-layer automated dispensing cabinet with a desktop design that allows control over inventory and user access.
iMADC-DKP-4D is a four-layer cabinet able to mix and match with various models and includes a customizable drawer layout that can have functions assigned based on user requirements.
iMADC-STD, an all-in-one automated medication dispensing system with multiple authentication methods, significantly improves security by integrating with a hospital’s scheduling system to control access when medical staff are off duty.
Looking for more healthcare solutions? Contact imetac today to let us optimize your medication distribution workflow!