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Improving Processes and Safety of Controlled Medication Using Modern Technology

August 27th, 2021
Improving Processes and Safety of Controlled Medication Using Modern Technology

It is normal in a hospital setting to administer controlled medication to patients for pain and treatment. Unfortunately, in a controlled situation, medication can also be mishandled by nurses, resulting in possible addiction and patient harm. This prompted countries like US and Australia to devise certain laws that require controlled medications to be accurately stored and recorded. Authorized personnel are also in charge of supervising, monitoring, and recording incidents of medication mismanagement.

In most cases, this procedure resulted to more work for clinicians and pharmacists. It can take hours to check and record all medications—precious time that could have been better spent on assisting nurses and doctors with medication concerns and managing regular medication.

To help this rising dilemma, hospitals have since implemented technology into their system and workflow. Automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) are slowly being introduced to medical facilities in hopes of solving the problems faced with manual medication management. Additionally, ADCs are also designed to securely store controlled medications such as opioids, so patients are less likely to take the wrong dosage and ultimately avoid them from administering it when it's not prescribed to them.

Automated Dispensing Cabinets Do Not Guarantee Error-Free Workflows

Although ADCs have been proven to make medication management easier, it does not ensure a completely error-free and seamless workflow. If the equipment is not optimized to cater to the facility's use, automated medication management may be more inconvenient than helpful. Research has also proven that a percentage of nurses and pharmacists are dissatisfied with equipment due to their lack of knowledge in technology and its usability, leading them to misuse the ADC and other accidents. In essence, adapting to modern solutions does not necessarily yield good results.

Even so, it is undeniable that automated dispensing cabinets have drastically decreased the amount of time hospital staff spend to manually count, record, and report status of controlled medications. In one study, almost 95% of time has been reduced (36 hours vs. 2 hours), giving nurses and more time to actually care for their patients. This also saves pharmacists more time (89% reduced time) to organize and fill in prescriptions as patient records and their medication needs are easier to distinguish and read.

Proper Setup and Maximum Functionality Results in Better Medication Management

When given proper measures and adequate training to help staff with the transition, better medication management can be achieved. When results were compared between manually loading and unloading medication and using automated dispensing cabinets, there have been no reports of wastage and mishandling. Corrections made through the registry have also been greatly reduced from 232 to 10 errors, both in a period of 8 months.


Numerous studies have been proven that automated dispensing cabinets not only improved the lives of the medical staff, but their patients as well. Pharmacists worry less as medication mismanagement situations such as incorrect dosage and incorrect medication administration are reduced. The nursing staff spend less time counting and locating medication, allotting more time to patient care. Despite the anxieties and imperfections of the equipment, it's no doubt that they have the ability to completely change the way medication is treated for the better.

TouchPoint Medical is a world-class medication manufacturing company that brings healthcare forward through its innovative and intuitive automated dispensing cabinets and mobile workstations. Visit their catalog of different models that suit every facility's needs or contact them for a free demo.