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Medical center selects McKesson's pharmacy automation to advance safety initiatives

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October 27, 2011 - Sanford USD Medical Center, the largest hospital in South Dakota, has installed McKesson’s pharmacy automation solutions to help optimize productivity and improve point-of-care medication safety at its facility. By incorporating bar-code scanning technology, the solutions are uniquely designed to help reduce medication errors and enable more efficient care delivery, starting in the pharmacy and reaching to the patient’s bedside.

To streamline processes and improve patient outcomes, the 545-bed teaching hospital is using McKesson’s ROBOT-Rx and MedCarousel dispensing and inventory management systems, as well as its PACMED automated packaging solution.

“With McKesson’s pharmacy automation solutions, we’re introducing an essential level of safety and efficiency to our medication dispensing process. Every dose is scanned before it leaves the pharmacy,” said Mike Duncan, pharmacy director, Sanford USD Medical Center. “Because our processes are automated, our pharmacists will have more time for clinical work, which has a positive impact on quality of care.”

Sanford is using ROBOT-Rx to automate the storage, dispensing and restocking of approximately 80% of its pharmacy medications. Nationally, ROBOT-Rx dispenses more than 350 million medication doses error-free each year. With confidence in the technology’s accuracy, the hospital is pursuing approval from the State Board of Pharmacy for a reduced pharmacist check-in lieu of a 100% check. ROBOT-Rx is also helping to streamline nursing workflow since unit-dose medications are automatically selected, scanned and placed into patient-specific envelopes for administration at the appropriate times.

For those medications not managed by ROBOT-Rx, Sanford is using two MedCarousel dispensing systems for cart-fill and first doses. The systems also replenish and manage inventory stocked in automated dispensing cabinets in the patient care areas. With the solutions’ bar-code scanning capabilities, rotating shelves and “pick-to-light” technology, pharmacy technicians can quickly dispense the medications they need while reducing the potential for errors.

The PACMED solution further enhances efficiency and accuracy by automating the bar-code packaging of oral solid medications and standardizing bar-code formats, which facilitates the transition to scanning bar-coded medications at the patient's bedside.

“These systems are integral to our vision for a comprehensive solution for patient safety,” added Duncan. “By redesigning our workflows, we are reinforcing our commitment to quality across the care continuum.”

McKesson’s pharmacy automation solutions enhance medication ordering, dispensing, administration, charge capture, and inventory management processes. The functionality and features of the systems are designed to drive the medication safety process deeper into the normal workflow patterns of pharmacists, technicians, nurses, and clinicians.

“Bar-code-based automation technology is vital to minimizing the potential for error and waste throughout the medication supply chain,” said Clay Courville, vice president, marketing and product management, McKesson Automation. “We’re proud to offer solutions that help progressive organizations like Sanford create efficiencies and drive better and safer care.”


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