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Reducing Dispensing Errors in Your Pharmacy

December 15th, 2021
Reducing Dispensing Errors in Your Pharmacy

Have you ever wondered if there’s a way to dispense drugs to patients with higher accuracy? Disappointed by all the complaints of dispensing errors from your hospital pharmacy?

You may be working tirelessly to create an efficient dispensing system, yet there always seems to be errors like an incorrect number of doses, selecting the wrong strength of drugs, and even selecting the wrong drug.

Eliminating dispensing errors is difficult.

That’s what many healthcare professionals say. Yet, there is a solution that involves adopting a combination of new technologies and controlled staff training. Healthcare facilities that applied this solution observed a significant decrease in dispensing errors, fewer complaints from patients, and a general accuracy in service delivery.

Do you want to reduce dispensing error liabilities at your health facility? This article has been curated with research you can trust to make the right decision.

Drug dispensing technology.

For many years now, North American hospitals have gradually moved from the traditional ward stock system. These hospitals have adopted the unit dose distribution system (UDDS) as the standard patient safety measure for drug dispensing. The unit dose system is superb in reducing medication administration errors by the nursing staff and reducing medication waste. It brings more transparency by ensuring that patients are charged for only the doses administered to them.

In addition to eliminating drug waste and pilferage, the entire unit dose system promotes the efficient utilization of professional and non-professional personnel. However, the UD system is not without some major flaws, which include, more pharmacy processing time and larger storage space. Dispensing errors like ​​missing doses, omission of items, incorrect patient names, and incorrect drug names are still possible with the unit dose system.

Automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) and Barcode (BC) technology.
Automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) and Barcode (BC) technology.

The efficiency of the unit dose system has been dramatically increased with the adoption of automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) and barcode (BC) technology. This hybrid dispensing system fosters patient safety and inventory accountability, streamlines specific billing processes, and ultimately leads to improved nursing and patient satisfaction.

With ADCs, hospital pharmacies can track expired drugs, offer patient safety against controlled substances, and provide functions that complement the unit dose system.

Also, health care providers can directly charge a patient's account. This functionality reduces the billing paperwork and provides speedier access to medicine, ultimately improving the patient’s comfort and care.

When barcode systems are added to dispensing procedures, the result is a decline in medication errors.

Research by The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH), tested the UD system, ADCs, and the barcode technology individually and in combinations to ascertain levels of dispensing error. The study revealed that dispensing errors for oral and injectable products were significantly less when the UD system was combined with ADC, and barcode technology. Furthermore, the success of this technology combination was found to be predicated on proper staff training.

The role of automated dispensing and barcode technology in healthcare.

Automated dispensing removes the human factor that is a major source of dispensing errors witnessed in hospital pharmacy units. The automated cabinets for dispensing handle several tasks, which comprise filling prescriptions and dispensing medication.

Patient safety can be ensured with ADCs and barcode technology when installed in your healthcare facility. The system comes with double dosage alerts, barcode scanning, look-alike, and sound-alike alerts. For instance, in operating rooms, the error of confusing two similar opioid analgesics like morphine and hydromorphone can be prevented using these technologies.

The ADC-barcode system is designed to track medications removed from the cabinet and support inventory replenishment. The system is flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of healthcare facilities.

TouchPoint Medical is a world-class healthcare manufacturing company that furthers quality healthcare provision. TouchPoint Medical achieves this through its innovative and intuitive automated dispensing cabinets and mobile workstations. Visit our catalog of different models that suit every facility's needs, or contact us for a free demo.