In today’s most progressive operating rooms and surgical centers, anesthesiologists and their teams rely on carts that both integrate with and enhance their workflows. So much more than run-of-the-mill medical storage cabinets on wheels, intelligent anesthesia medication carts incorporate workstations, along with drawers for keeping medication, airway devices, and IV supplies secure, neatly organized—and readily within reach at all times during surgery.
It is, however, accessibility and connectivity that put the “intelligent” in intelligent anesthesia carts. The best models combine medication/supply storage with all the features of a highly functional mobile workstation designed with anesthesiology’s high demands in mind. For one, integration with Electronic Health Records (EHR) gives anesthesiologists immediate access to patient information. This alone provides easy access to critical up-to-the-minute data through an intuitive automated system, freeing up time and attention for greater patient care.
Advanced notifications to the pharmacy through intelligent cart features ensure the right medications are always available when they’re needed. With bar-code scanning capabilities, state-of-the-art carts can track what’s put in or taken out of every drawer. This helps ensure that items are always stocked and ready for the day’s surgery schedule and provides facility managers with auditing, billing, and inventory management advantages. One such advantage is the elimination of manual work necessary to trace medication and document proper drug inventory maintenance. In healthcare facilities of all sizes, automation saves time and money, especially when faced with surveys and random inspections by government agencies and accrediting organizations policing medication management.
On the pharmacy side, intelligent carts in the operating room track medication usage and return events in real-time, helping to eliminate human error and lost charges. Again, automation allows for seamless integration with pharmacy workflow software to generate insightful data and efficient reporting. When an item leaves the pharmacy, the software creates an electronic record of where it lands and when it’s used, reducing medication loss and waste. Along similar lines, pharmacists can quickly locate medications nearing expiration and pinpoint exactly which carts they’re in. And in this current climate of drug shortages and back orders, automated medication tracking insights help to streamline drug purchasing processes and aid in determining how supply stocks can be more efficiently distributed among anesthesia carts.