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How new ADC designs can improve medication storage and accessibility

December 14th, 2021
How new ADC designs can improve medication storage and accessibility

Medication administration is one of the most important roles that the nursing staff plays in a healthcare facility. An improvement in this process can potentially reduce healthcare costs, improve staff satisfaction, and, most importantly, improve inpatient care.

Several factors impact the efficiency and timeliness of medication administration in a healthcare facility, including-

  • The use of electronic medication administration records (e-MARs)
  • Decentralized medication distribution systems
  • Use of information technology tools such as bar codes
  • Automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs)

However, the implementation of ADCs over the last few decades has had the highest impact on improving medication distribution and administration.

The ADCs have seen significant modifications over the years to improve the safety and efficacy of the dispensing process. The modern ADCs are equipped with illuminated drawers, dedicated software that enhances effectiveness, and improved security measures, including bar code and biometric scanning.

Several studies have been conducted to determine efficiency, staff satisfaction, and improved safety of the dispensing process using the ADCs. However, the impact of the arrangement of inventory within the cabinets on efficacy, safety, and staff satisfaction has not been evaluated in great detail.

How are individual inventory items assigned to a cabinet?

Inventory management and stocking of an ADC unit can significantly impact the overall efficiency and staff satisfaction of the system. Old generation ADCs relied on arranging the inventory to maximize the geographic distance between look-alike-sound-alike (LASA) items to assure security and avoid dispensing errors.

However, newer designs and drawer systems allow the pharmacists to deemphasize the geographic distance between LASA items and improve efficiency.

A pilot study conducted in Duke University Hospital assessed the impact of a newer inventory storage method within the ADCs to improve efficiency. The researchers arranged the inventory by placing the most frequently used items centrally within the cabinet. The articles within each drawer were arranged alphabetically, and items with poor correlation or low use were placed distant from the cabinet center.

The impact of modern ADC design

According to the Duke University Hospital researchers, the new ADC design and method of placing the items within the ADC units saved almost 50 minutes of the nursing staff per month. The saved time, in turn, can be utilized to improve patient care. 

The arrangement of the inventory items according to the frequency of usage improved the nursing staff satisfaction in the study. The newer generation cabinets are more user-friendly and can help the nursing staff streamline their workflow, increasing satisfaction.

The restocking process in the modern ADCs is also significantly easier compared to the older generation equipment. Some of the most useful features of new generation ADCs that pharmacy technicians find most useful include-

  • Opening and closing the drawers are more efficient in modern ADCs
  • The ‘guiding lights’ make the restocking much easier
  • With newer drawer designs, there is greater flexibility of storing meds in manufacturers packaging
  • Ease of use
The advantages of modern ADCs

Modern ADCs with state-of-the-art features such as the ones supplied by TouchPoint Medicals offer several advantages over the previous generation equipment. Some of the features that can significantly improve efficacy, safety, and staff satisfaction include-

Flexible configurations

Modern ADCs such as the medDispense ® cabinets from TouchPoint Medical can be easily configured to meet your facility's needs with an option to upgrade in the future. From desktop units to a large cabinet for bulk storage, modern ADCs eliminate the space constraint challenges with an array of storage options.

Highly configurable software and hardware

Modern ADCs are equipped with highly configurable software systems that allow the users to have granular control over security measures and hardware compartment layouts.

Enhanced security

Most modern ADCs come equipped with high security controlled substance storage with robust discrepancy tracking and notification systems. The built-in safeguards, including precounts, patient medication profiles, and configurable patient and medication searching, help minimize dispensing errors.

In conclusion

Modern ADCs can significantly improve the dispensing process in healthcare facilities saving the nursing staff valuable time and effort. Implementation of a modern ADC system can also dramatically reduce administration errors and improve patient safety as well.

TouchPoint Medical’s innovative medication management solutions can help improve the safety and efficiency of healthcare facilities. Our highly configurable medDispense ® series of ADCs offer secure and efficient automation across your clinical workflow.

If you are looking to implement modern ADC systems in your facility, contact us to schedule a free demonstration.