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Clinical Information Systems


Medical center automates

storage with cabinets

The ultimate challenge was balancing two fundamental regulations – a requirement that drugs in the OR be

immediately and readily available, and another necessitating medication security at all times.
ne of the most logistically challenging areas the OR be immediately and readily available, and another
of the hospital for medication distribution is necessitating medication security at all times. In addition,
the operating room (OR). This is particularly the physical environment itself is limited both in terms
true for institutions such as the Erie County of space and accessibility.
Medical Center (ECMC), with service lines that neces- Historically at ECMC, the operating rooms functioned
sitate 24/7 OR capabilities. only on paper, with a limited understanding of, and little
To an outside observer, ensuring that medications tolerance for, electronic-documentation systems. Addi-
are available and that products provided to a patient in tionally, ECMC had a long-standing history of autonomy
support of surgery are accurately billed to that patient among surgeons, anesthesiologists and their respective
would seem rudimentary. In actuality, these two seem- residents, and billing for products administered had
ingly simple requirements are entangled in a web of always been challenging.
regulations, technologies, Prior to this project, the
logistical issues and provider level of customer service
expectations. provided by pharmacy to
ECMC, located in Buf- the anesthesiology staff
falo, N.Y., is the adult re- was sub-optimal, Gerwitz
gional trauma center for says. A single bank of auto-
the western eight counties mated dispensing cabinets
of New York. Ten operating in the OR core served as a

units function around the repository for all medica-
clock processing approxi- tions, both patient-billable

mately 12,000 cases annu- and fl oor stock items.
ally, 52 percent performed “The existing anesthe-

SHOWLINE on outpatients. Challenges sia carts were in need of
faced by the pharmacy and repair and did not provide

anesthesiology staffs in- convenient secure storage

cluded accurately capturing for medications prepared
charges, enhancing patient for the upcoming cases,”
safety and meeting Joint he says. “The dated carts
Commission and Centers Randy Gerwitz, director of pharmacy at ECMC, was challenged and associated procedures
for Medicare and Medicaid
with balancing regulations on making medications readily
hampered work flow and
standards related to medica-
available in operating rooms and making access to those
challenged infection con-
medications secure.
tion security and administra- trol. This system also neces-
Nelson Publishing
tion. Neither medication availability nor rapid operating sitated a paper-reconciliation process for narcotics that
room turnaround could be compromised. deviated from the hospital norm of electronic documen-
2500 Tamiami Tr N
“It became apparent that automated dispensing tation via automated-dispensing cabinets.”
Nokomis, FL 34275
cabinets within the operating rooms would enable our Gerwitz identifi ed the OR as a key target for maxi-
facility to more fully meet these challenges by providing mizing charge capture while enhancing effi ciency. At
medications at the point of care,” says Randy Gerwitz, the time, estimates of charge capture for medications
director of pharmacy at ECMC. administered by anesthesiology were in the range of 10
The ultimate challenge for Gerwitz was balancing two percent to 15 percent.
fundamental regulations – a requirement that drugs in Gerwitz and a group from pharmacy and anesthe-
HHMT1002 Omnicell FINAL.indd 32MT1002 Omnicell FINAL.indd 32 11/25/2010 2:19:10 PM/25/2010 2:19:10 PM
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