Five automated medication dispensing cabinets were recently installed, one in each department respectively – the medical/surgical unit, Emergency Room, labor and delivery, surgery and endoscopy. According to pharmacists, the system greatly increases safety for patients.
“First and foremost, patient safety is gained by utilizing automation. We’re immediately reducing the likelihood for medication error,” said Assistant Director of Pharmacy at Archbold Chris Newman. “In addition, all medications are barcoded, and this barcode is utilized for multiple safety checks – within the pharmacy, on the nursing floors in the automated dispensing cabinets, and prior to administration to the patient.”
Grady General’s Pharmacy Manager Leslye Upton, PharmD, said, “The new process makes medication available much quicker for our patients, and the overall technology helps streamline work processes for our nurses.”
The cabinets are routinely stocked with medications by the pharmacy department and serve as secure storage for medications until they are ordered for a patient by a physician. A nurse is then granted access to the cabinet, which incorporates a number of smart features to ensure the correct medication or supply is being retrieved.
While studies have shown that technology, including barcoding and computerized physician entry, as well as changes in hospital processes for medication management, can help reduce errors, it’s not particularly common to find this level of technology in a rural hospital.
“This type of technology is typically only found in large hospitals,” said LaDon Toole, Grady General administrator. “Archbold continues to invest in the best technology for our patients to ensure GGH continues to provide high-quality healthcare in a safe environment.”