Background The distribution, management and control of drug stocks in clinical units is a responsibility of the pharmacy department, but this control is difficult to perform manually, resulting in a loss of important information about drug use.
Purpose To analyse the economic impact of automated drug dispensing systems (ADSs) implemented in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the emergency department (ED).
Materials and Methods A total of 5 Omnicell cabinets were installed in August 2008: 3 in ICU and 2 in ED. The average cost of implementation for each one was about 60,000 euros. Nevertheless, the Hospital did not have to invest in them since they were donated by a national foundation.
The ICU is comprised of a total of 42 dedicated critical care beds located in 3 different modules, and ED has 2 modules with a total of 22 beds and 9 chairs.
The ADSs are connected to hospital admission software and to the pharmacy management software.
Medication costs in ICU and ED were examined, comparing one year prior to installation with the years after implantation of the ADS. These data were obtained from the management software of the pharmacy department.
Results Drugs dispensed by ADSs represent 60% and 71.6% respectively of total medicines consumed in ICU and ED.
Four years after implantation:
The quantity of drugs dispensed and drug stock has decreased in both units.
The pharmacy department knows the type and amount of medicines to be found in each unit and in real time.
The information it provides has helped to improve patient safety in relation to a better quality of prescription.
Since the implementation of ADSs, consumption has decreased compared to 2007:
Conclusions The implementation of ADS has meant an estimated saving of 938,330€.
The ADSs have increased drug control by the pharmacy department, have achieved a better rationalisation of resources and have improved efficiency in drugs use.
No conflict of interest.
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