McKesson today announced that four leading acute-care hospitals have chosen the company’s robotic medication dispensing and integrated pharmacy automation solutions as part of a total bar code-based pharmacy system for medication safety and operational efficiency. The solution suite ensures that patient medications picked by the robot are bar-code scanned for accuracy before leaving the pharmacy. According to research from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, while use of these systems has increased in the last decade, only 24 percent of hospitals nationwide currently use bar coding to verify medications dispensed by the pharmacy.
The most recent hospitals to contract for these automated solutions include:
- Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, Chesapeake, Va.
- Knapp Medical Center, Westlaco, Texas
- Nash General Hospital, Rocky Mount, N.C.
- Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Bronx, N.Y.
These organizations join approximately one-third of the nation’s large- and medium-sized hospitals that already use the ROBOT-Rx® system. Nationally, the solution dispenses a combined half a billion medication doses error-free each year. The robot has proven to increase medication dispensing accuracy to greater than 99 percent while reducing pharmacist labor to check medications by 90 percent. In addition, the robot lowers drug inventory by 20 percent.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the federal government established incentives for healthcare providers that demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) systems. Many hospitals view pharmacy automation as an essential foundation to better position themselves for the ARRA funding. Chesapeake Regional, for instance, purchased ROBOT-Rx to complement the McKesson EHR and medication management solutions it is currently implementing.
“The pharmacy automation component is integral to our vision for a comprehensive, end-to-end solution for patient safety and quality,” said Ken Deans, chief information officer for Chesapeake Regional. “When pharmacists spend less time on the dispensing function, they have more time to optimize patient drug therapies, which directly benefits our patients.”
“ROBOT-Rx can empower and advance the use of bar-code medication management, not only helping hospitals provide the highest levels of efficiency but also the highest levels of safety and good clinical care,” said Stanton McComb, president of McKesson Automation.
Completing the medication dispensing solution, each of the hospitals will use the MedCarousel® medication management and automated storage and retrieval system to replenish and manage inventory stocked in automated medication cabinets on patient floors. Several of them also will use the automated medication packaging system ROBOT-Ready PACMED™ for packaging medications in bar-coded, unit-dose form, and Automation Decision Support™ advanced analytics and health care scorecard for strategic decision making.