Closing the medication administration loop

Every year in the UK, there are 273 million medication errors costing the healthcare system a staggering £98 million. The pressure of providing quality care is now at an all-time high, with record levels of bed occupancy and patient workloads in the NHS. Clinical teams are over-stretched with tasks.

One such time-consuming area, the patient medication round, is loaded with inefficient processes, which have until now created error, delay and a lack of transparency at the point of medication administration. Now, Omnicell UK & Ireland, a leading provider of medication management solutions and adherence tools for health systems and pharmacies, has partnered with Netherlands-based company Alphatron Medical to introduce the AMiS-PRO Smart Cart to the UK healthcare market to transform nurse workflow on the medication round.

With the Smart Cart, data from the Netherlands suggest that time savings of up to 40 minutes per nurse per shift can be achieved by enabling nurses to make one trip away from the ward for each medication round, rather than one trip away from the ward for every patient as is the case today. It is anticipated that similar time savings will be realised in UK hospitals. This is achieved by replacing the current process of checking, ordering and administering medication for every patient in turn on the round, with a more efficient process of sending all patient medication orders in sequence from the bedside, followed by one collection and medication administration round, all using the Smart Cart.

The Smart Cart harnesses intelligent technology to combine the functionality of a medication trolley with a computer on wheels, and dedicated locking medication bins. It allows the nurse to view each patient’s electronic patient record (EPR) at the bedside, and then to send medication orders directly to an automated dispensing cabinet (ADC), eradicating the need for checking against printed medication lists and handwritten patient notes, thereby eliminating potential errors.

Once the nurse completes all patient medication orders on the round using the Smart Cart, all medications are collected from the ADC and placed within secured individual patient bins on the Smart Cart before being delivered to each patient, eliminating medication mixing errors that can occur using more traditional medication trolleys. 

Finally, through integration with NHS Electronic Patient Record (EPR) and Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) systems, all doses administered can be recorded using the Smart Cart, resulting in closed loop recording of medications, giving full transparency and recording at point of care of what medication was administered, when and by who.

Additional benefits of the Smart Cart include: 

  • Elimination of wastage of discontinued medications from the patient bedside locker on patient discharge
  • Built with design and functionality in mind including automatic ergonomic working position, 10+ year lifespan, electrical height adjustment for easy patient interaction, reliable battery with 12+ hr runtime and wifi enabled access to EPR, ERMA and MAR systems.

The benefits and functions of Smart Cart also help wards and hospitals move away from one stop dispensing, and towards dispense for discharge which will alleviate high levels of medication wastage upon discharge.

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