As healthcare technology continues to become increasingly sophisticated, there’s no denying the incredible benefits to facilities and the patients they serve. But with limited budgets and complex objectives, professionals in charge of capital spending may be hard-pressed to choose which products will deliver the biggest value over time. Pharmacies, specifically, must balance quickly adapting to stricter facility mandates, compliance policies, and regulations with an ability to show high returns on technology investments. One tool that really delivers on multiple fronts is the Automatic Dispensing Cabinet (ADC). Today's best-in-class ADCs incorporate safety, efficiency, and compliance benefits, especially for institutional pharmacies serving long-term care (LTC) facilities.
One of the biggest ways ADCs are reducing costs is by allowing facilities to keep more medications readily available. On-demand delivery services continue to be one of the biggest direct costs, but it doesn’t have to be. By using ADCs as backup storage for emergency boxes (e-boxes) at four of their LTC facilities, Emissary Pharmacy in Wyoming was able to see an annual savings of $36,000 over five years.
Scott Soulek, RPh, Emissary’s Owner/Clinical Services Manager explains, “We were delivering at least once or twice a day from the backup pharmacy to the LTC facility. We still do daily deliveries, but our backup drug cost has gone down.”
Another pharmacy servicing several LTC facilities in and around the Atlanta area estimates they’ve reduced STAT delivery costs by 50% going from about $65,000 per month down to $35,000 by using ADCS to make medications immediately available and keep them more robustly stocked.
When nurses have immediate access to the medications patients need, everyone wins. ADCs make accessing even controlled substances safer and simpler. And they can store many more medications right on-site at the facility compared to e-boxes or other forms of medication storage devices.
Soulek says that since installing ADCs, the LTC operations managers he works with have noticed patients receiving their medicine at a quicker rate and no complaints about medication availability from nurses—a once common grievance.
“This was a huge compliment for us and the facility’s nursing home staff,” said Soulek.
Many of the latest mandates facing healthcare facilities relate to controlled medications. ADCs are a great way to keep more of these medications stored-in house while also adhering to strict security protocols. The DEA currently requires all pharmacies servicing LTC facilities to have hard copies of narcotic prescriptions before the drug can be removed from any e-box or ADC. ADCs offer remote authorization add-on features that ensure units remain locked until a pharmacist gives remote authorization. Even when authorization is received, the ADC will ensure nurses can only access drugs for a limited time before the cabinet becomes locked again. Operations managers will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that procedures are carried out correctly and in compliance.
ADCS also improved Emissary’s e-box solution because medications could be kept much more controlled, and processes were documented.
“We relied on the nurses faxing us and documenting the prescriptions,” said Soulek. “We would have to reconcile an e-box every month because prescriptions wouldn’t be documented. This gets expensive and puts us at high risk for a DEA fine. Now, our inventory is more streamlined.”
When used correctly, ADCs are a powerful part of any pharmacy or healthcare facility’s medication diversion prevention strategy. Because every transaction is traceable down to the exact medication and lockable bin where it’s stored, there’s little opportunity for theft to go unnoticed. Adding to that, biometrics have made user IDs and password’s nearly impossible to share or steal. Combine proper use of ADCs with the latest pharmacy analytics software and many processes that were once manual and very labor intensive become streamlined, automated, and based on real-time data. With these fail-safes in place, pharmacies and the facilities they serve can proactively monitor all drug dispensing actions and transactions, including any indicative of suspicious activity.
ADCs offer positive user experiences for all—putting pharmacies ahead of their competitors. In just a short time, decision-makers for pharmacies serving LTCs will be on track to show measurable ROI, along with specific efficiency improvements and greater satisfaction. TouchPoint Medical ADCs were designed specifically for LTC facilities and can be configured to suit your specific workflow and needs. medDispense is the easiest-to-use ADC on the market, allowing less familiar users to administer the right meds safely. The implementation is straightforward as well, facilitated by our on-site service team. For more information on TouchPoint Medical’s medDispense ADCs, check out our product page.