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Automated medication cabinets bring benefits to Waikato Hospital

Project manager Mike Lane with Emergency Department clinical nurse manager Rachel Dobson, and hospital pharmacy dispensary team leader Marinda van Staden, with one of the department’s larger MedDispense cabinets.

Project manager Mike Lane with Emergency Department clinical nurse manager Rachel Dobson, and hospital pharmacy dispensary team leader Marinda van Staden, with one of the department’s larger MedDispense cabinets.

Five new automated medication dispensing cabinets went “live” in Waikato Hospital’s Emergency Department this week.

They complete the initial installation of the MedDispense system at Waikato Hospital, where a total of 17 cabinets are now in place in high use areas – Intensive Care, CathLab, three of the four acute medical wards, Older Persons and Rehabilitation wards, and now Emergency Department.

The system is linked to the hospital’s i.PM patient management system. An authorised nurse logs in, selects the correct patient, searches for the medication type and identifies the dose and formulation required. Once entered on the PC, the system automatically opens the cabinet drawer containing the correct medication.

The project started after a trial in 2012 showed that the MedDispense system could offer improved medication security, stock management, stock usage and monitoring of expiry dates, as well as quicker access to the right medication, and at a very competitive price. It replaces an older automated system in Emergency Department and Ward A2, and manual medication storage systems in the other areas.

Project manager Mike Lane says key features of the automated system are the ability to reduce medication selection errors, to access reports on stock levels and monitor medication administration.

Waikato DHB is the first large tertiary district health board in New Zealand to implement MedDispense, and Mike Lane says there will be considerable interest in monitoring how well it delivers on its promise.

The project was led by Waikato DHB’s Catalyst project team alongside the hospital Pharmacy (in particular Marinda Van Staden) and representatives from each area where the system was installed. The team also worked alongside staff from Global Medics and Emerson as well as the DHB’s IS department to test and install the new machines into the organisation.

Medications stored in each clinical or ward area are those most used and most appropriate for the patients cared for there. Each cabinet configuration is slightly different to match the needs of that area and the space available.

Medications not stored locally can be accessed from any other MedDispense cabinet in the hospital, and the hospital Pharmacy continues to provide a service for medications not available via MedDispense.

The Pharmacy can remotely access reports on stock levels for each MedDispense cabinet and re-stock in a timely way, saving the time previously taken to do check stock levels manually on the ward.

ENDS

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Email: news@waikatodhb.health.nz

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