Background As hospital pharmacies face an ever-changing landscape with new responsibilities, the need to find more efficient drug distribution methods becomes increasingly important. Omnicell conducted a comprehensive time and motion study at five large U.S. hospital sites of varying bed number, which were operating different cabinet-based drug distribution systems.
Purpose To determine whether the use of automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) helped in creating more efficient drug distribution systems.
Material and methods In each facility, 5 to 6 days were spent recording time and motion to compare medicines management using a traditional patient-specific fill model and an ADC-based model. The times and costs associated with filling first doses, missing doses, batch doses and returning medicines were compared between the two models.
Results Cost and time savings were adjusted for a 350-bed facility. First doses filled via ADC took 111 s less per dose. First doses filled via ADC cost US $0.23 per dose, compared to US $1.93 per dose via traditional methods. This resulted in an eight times lower first dose cost when dispensed from the ADC. Missing doses took 64 s less in the ADC model. Returns took 25 s per dose in the patient-specific fill process. The time savings associated with using ADCs accounted for a total decrease of 35 labour hours per week, which resulted in a savings of US $64,300 in labour annually.
Conclusion Healthcare facilities can realise clear and measurable time and cost-saving benefits by using ADCs in their medicines distribution model. The change can significantly increase efficiency for both nursing and pharmacy.
References and/or acknowledgements 1 Eckel SF, Eckel FM. Medication distribution systems. In: Brown TR, ed. Handbook of Institutional Pharmacy Practice, 4th ed. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 2006:383–92
Conflict of interest.
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