How Do Automated Dispensing Cabinets Work in Hospitals?
How Do Automated Dispensing Cabinets Work in Hospitals

How Do Automated Dispensing Cabinets Work in Hospitals?

Automated dispensing cabinets(ADC) have revolutionized modern healthcare thanks to their efficiency and accuracy. For those new to the game, ADCs are computerized systems that streamline the process of storing, dispensing, and tracking medication in healthcare facilities. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how automated dispensing cabinets work and their applications in hospitals.  

How do Automated Dispensing Cabinets Work?

The automated dispensing cabinets have a workflow designed to be efficient and safe for patients and healthcare staff. While using medicine dispensing cabinets in the medical field can seem daunting for new adopters, it has a relatively simple process and learning curve. Said workflow consists of four steps:

(1) managing user access, (2) scanning the medical order, (3) dispensing the medicine, and (4) recording.

The medication workflow starts with managing user access—only authorized users can access the cabinet using a PIN or ID badge. This first step ensures that only authorized personnel can access the medication, thus significantly reducing the risk of medication errors and improving patient safety. 

In the second step, the medical order is scanned, which ensures that patients receive the proper medication and dosage prescribed by their doctors. It also helps verify that the prescribed medication is not expired and that there is an adequate supply.

Once the order is scanned, we move on to the third step—dispensing medication to the patient. The automated dispensing cabinet then administers the correct medication and dosage based on the information obtained from the scanned medical order. 

Finally, in the fourth step, the dispensing process is recorded for future audits to guarantee accuracy and accountability. This is a crucial step because it provides a complete record of who accessed the medication, when it was dispensed, and who received it. 

Various Applications of Medication Dispensing Cabinets in Hospitals 

 Automated dispensing cabinets have many applications in hospitals and healthcare settings, making them a versatile and valuable tool for improving patient safety and optimizing the delivery of medication. Facilities that commonly use medication dispensing cabinets include nursing stations, operation rooms/ICUs, and pharmacies.  

  • Nursing Station

At nursing stations, automated dispensing cabinets serve to manage daily medication and support state and standing orders in the EMR/HIS system.

This allows nursing staff to efficiently dispense the correct medication and dosage to treat patients in everyday routine. Besides, the system will automatically display the number of medicines with different expiration dates, so nurses can give priority to the medications that are about to expire.

  • Operation Room / ICUs

In operation rooms and Intensive Care Units (ICUs), automated dispensing cabinets play a crucial role in managing controlled substances. They are designed to securely store morphine or other drugs used during surgeries and make sure the dose of them is not too less or more.

During time-sensitive surgeries and procedures, ADCs have the ability to claim all the required substances for surgery in simply one transaction, increasing operational efficiency and minimizing delays. It also reduces hospital liability risks due to medical malpractice. 

  • Pharmacy

Automated dispensing cabinets can also be used in pharmacies to manage not only controlled substances but also high-value medical supplies.

Pharmacies use ADCs that require a password or RFID badge for access to strengthen permission to particular medicines. At the busy pharmacy counter of hospitals, the double approval system, which requires two authorized personnel to approve the dispensing of a specific medicine, further helps safeguard valuable substances and supplies with proper oversight. 


Choosing the Right Automated Dispensing Cabinet for Your Practice

While many options are available on the market, few offer the professional edge and variety of choices that iMedtac medication dispensing systems do.

Popular iMedtac models include:

iMADC-STD, an all-in-one standard automated dispensing cabinet that carries three types of pill boxes.

iMADC-DKP-4D, a 4-layer automated dispensing cabinet with remote monitoring and RFID access control.

iMADC-DKP-2D, a compact automated dispensing cabinet with advanced features.

But how do iMedtac’s medication dispensing cabinets stand out in the ever-competitive medtech market?

For starters, iMedtac’s automated dispensing cabinets support RFID card and password access control, whereas most brands use RFID cards and fingerprints. iMedtac’s login method maximizes security and is less susceptible to the hacking or tampering that others are prone to. iMedtac’s cabinets also offer a modular pill box configuration, while others are fixed in design. iMedtac users benefit from more flexibility, mobility, and the freedom to add cabinet extensions if needed. 

The crowning stroke on iMedtac’s medication dispensing cabinet however is the abnormal notification feature. At the detection of any abnormal activity, medical personnel can instantly receive email and local screen notifications from iMedtac’s cabinets, while other brands only provide local screen notifications. 


iMedtac Other Brand
Login Method RFID card, password RFID card, fingerprint
Pill Box Configuration modular design fixed
Abnormal Notification  E-mail, local screen local screen

With the right automated dispensing cabinet and proper use, hospitals and other medical facilities gain a secure way to store and dispense medication, improve their workflow efficiency, and can, above all-provide quality care to their patients. 


Related ADC article: Accurate Drug Management with Medication Dispensing System

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