This summer, Island Hospital (IH) installed several automated medication-dispensing machines that help make managing patient care safer and more efficient.

These machines, called the Pyxis MedStation, are locked medication storage cabinets that integrate with the hospital’s electronic medical-record system. Each cabinet has multiple locked drawers with a series of individual compartments containing various types of medication in vials, tablets, or other packaging.

Pharmacy staff stocks and replenishes the cabinets, managing inventory across the hospital. Barcode scanning tracks all medications as the cabinets are re-filled, making it easier for the pharmacy staff to optimize inventory levels and track usage in all departments.

At the nursing stations, nurses can open the cabinet only after entering their own user identification and password, or fingerprint, into the attached computer workstation. The workstation, which provides access to inpatient records, allows a nurse to choose a patient and confirm his or her medication.

The system unlocks and opens the appropriate cabinet drawer and internal compartment to dispense only the selected medication after confirming the patient and the correct dose. Medications that have been dispensed and administered are updated in both patient and pharmacy records simultaneously.

The biggest benefits of using Pyxis automated-dispensing cabinets include patient safety, increased productivity for nurses and inventory optimization for the Pharmacy Department.

“The machines allow nurses to spend more time where it is needed—with their patients,” says Ken Martin PharmD, Director of Pharmacy Services at IH. Nurses will spend less time planning and recording dosages, because the system dispenses the correct dosage for each patient and notes it in the patient’s electronic medical record.

Automated dispensing cabinets make medication administration safer for patients. “These cabinets help ensure that the right patient receives the right medication in the right dose,” says Martin. “It comes down to providing an additional level of safety for our patients.”

At IH, 11 dispensing cabinets have been installed across various departments, and four anesthesia systems have been deployed in operating rooms ensuring patient safety during surgeries.

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Published on September 13, 2019