Monday, October 29, 2012

New Medication-Dispensing Practices Boost Patient Safety

This summer, the JCH ER welcomed a new addition to its ranks – the Omnicell® automated dispensing cabinet (ADC). What does that mean for patients? Simple, faster medication delivery and
increased patient safety.

The JCH Omnicell ADC, which looks a little like a fancy vending machine, is equipped with fingerprint identification and 2D barcode scanning that act as safety checks on medications during the dispense, return and restock processes. “With over 800 medications currently in the Omnicell, this system helps our staff get the right medication to our patients on time and in the most efficient manner,” says JCH Head Pharmacist, Susan Guntren. “The innovative bar code verification feature also increases our overall security as we can easily track and monitor when medications are taken out and restocked.” According to Guntren, about 62% of hospitals the size of JCH use ADCs as their primary distribution method for medications. Of those, only 38% use the bar coding feature when restocking.
Kerry Werner, RN in ER uses the Omnicell at JCH

JCH started using the bar code verification feature right away, however, which will simplify the change in procedures in November, when the bar-coded medication administration system is implemented. “In administering medication via the bar code system, we can make sure patients are receiving the correct medications and dosages while simultaneously meeting the ever-changing compliance and safe practice regulations,” said Larry Bear, CEO of Jersey Community Hospital. “We want our patients to know we’re not just throwing medication at them and that there are processes in place to ensure there are no unnecessary reactions.”

JCH was one of the first hospitals in Illinois to be certified for “Meaningful Use” by CMS and is well on the way to the second tier of this computerized medical record designation. In addition to ADCs and its bar-coded medication administration system, JCH has also:
• switched to computerized physician order entry – 100% of all
orders are now submitted this way
• implemented the use of smart pumps with over 46 medications
currently programmed
• added a new unit dose bar code packaging system
• installed automated temperature monitoring systems in
departments that are only open during the day so medications
can be monitored centrally

These improvements are a direct result of talented clinical managers, dedicated physicians, and a commitment from the organization’s leaders to maximum patient safety and efficiency.

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