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Hospital Upgrades Medication Dispensing Cabinets

March 24, 2017

Wilbarger General Hospital has implemented a new medication dispensing system that is the first of its kind to be implemented in Texas. The new system is the Omnicell XT Automated Dose Dispensing Cabinet, which is more efficient, safe and flexible than its predecessor.

WGH received a $75,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to help purchase four of the new cabinets to replace the old medication dispensing cabinets the hospital had been using for the past nine years. Dose dispensing cabinets are used in the Emergency Room, Operating Room, Outpatient Services, and on 3rd Floor for inpatient care.

“We are striving to provide the residents of our community and surrounding area with not only quality health care, but also safe health care and this new medicine dispensing system helps us meet both of those objectives,” said Wilbarger General CEO Claudia Eisenmann.

The new automated dose dispensing cabinets are more efficient as they are larger, which allows for a wider variety of drugs to be housed in the cabinet as well as a higher volume of drugs.

“With the new cabinet there is less chance of the drug not being available when a patient needs it, which keeps the nurse at the bedside for patient care instead of running to the pharmacy,” ER Nurse Manager Mary Thompson said.

The inventory of each cabinet is logged into the cabinet’s computer, and each drug is given a re-order level. When the drug reaches that level, a restock notice is immediately sent to the hospital pharmacy and the drug is restocked.

The new cabinets are also safer because it only allows the nurse access to one drug at a time, and the cabinet automatically prints a patient label when needed.

“All of our nurses who work at the hospital do a great job of checking to ensure each patient is receiving the correct medication, but this cabinet just adds another layer of patient safety,” Thompson explained. “It has the technology to match the doctor’s order with the correct patient, correct drug and correct dosage.”

There is also more flexibility with this cabinet which allows each department using it to configure the cabinet the way personnel want it to be. Shelves can be switched to drawers, and more or less room can be devoted to the new controlled substance dispenser.

The Controlled Substance Dispenser stores medications in a separate, secured location in the automated dispensing cabinet and dispenses each dose individually, similar to a vending machine. By electronically tracking each dose, the system also spares nurses from additional manual documentation

“With the new cabinet, the oversight and management of our drugs is less time consuming for our nurses and for our pharmacy,” Thompson said. “This frees up our nurses and gives them more time to assist patients or perform other duties.”

More information and details on the medication dispensing system can be found here Omnicell website.