In a hospital setting, pharmacy operations face the continual pressure of dispensing a wide variety of medications to patients who may be in a critical state, needing immediate medical intervention. Accuracy is naturally of the highest importance, but so is speed—slowing down to fill a prescription could cost time patients can’t afford to lose, but supplying the wrong drug or the wrong dose could be worse. In fact, as reported by the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), medication errors are among the most common medical errors, with the costs of treating drug-related injuries in hospitals amounting to $3.5 billion annually. It can be devastating to reflect such a mistake might have been avoidable.
When an error occurs, it can be natural to blame the individuals involved in the incident first, but often the systems and procedures in place set the stage for avoidable problems. When people are performing repetitive manual tasks under pressure, having to switch gears between multiple steps, and pause at each stage to read over and verify information, the points at which mistakes can creep in multiply. Automation can help improve patient safety by streamlining your processes and improving accuracy, reserving critical human attention for higher-level tasks. Here’s how Tension’s pharmacy automation equipment and software can improve patient safety in hospitals:
- Reducing Medication Errors: How many medications have confusingly similar names? How many medications can be beneficial at one dose and harmful at another? Automated medication dispensing in hospital pharmacies eliminates errors that might occur because a medication name or dosage was misread, or because an incorrect count was dispensed. Pharmacies can rely on consistent efficiency and accuracy around the clock.
- Improving Patient Safety with Automated Medication Verification: Key to guaranteeing patient safety is ensuring that a prescription is verified at every step of the way. The scanning technology in our WorkFlow Software System (WFS) uses bar codes for fast, easy verification that what’s being dispensed is what was ordered, so it can ultimately be delivered to the right patient.
- Automated Quality Control and Testing: In addition to bar code scanning that builds accuracy into your processes, WFS is designed with single-task workstations that allow your pharmacists and technicians to focus on the task at hand. The system is designed to be efficient by eliminating scrolling and switching back and forth between functions, which not only slows fulfillment but also increases the likelihood of mistakes. Quality control is built into the entire process, instead of requiring additional steps.
When medication errors occur in the hospital, they erode patients’ trust in the healthcare system even when harm is minor and are demoralizing to hospital workers. Worse, they can result in irreversible damage in the most severe cases. Automation can dramatically improve patient safety and maximize the productivity of your hospital pharmacy, giving your team and your patients confidence in the care you provide.
Customized Solutions for Your Hospital Pharmacy
Tension Packaging & Automation is a leader in dispensing equipment and software for pharmacy operations of all sizes. We understand that every pharmacy has a unique workflow, so our solutions are designed to be customizable, scalable, and adaptable. As your needs change, we can add additional processes and capabilities to keep your system up to date with your requirements. Just as critically, we’re here to ensure that you get the full value of your investment in automation with top-notch customer service. In addition to tailoring your system to your pharmacy’s needs, we fully train your workforce so they can realize the full benefit of automated support, and we continue to provide support and service as needed, with 24/7 availability for advice, technical support, and maintenance.
When you’re dealing with seriously ill patients in a hospital setting, you want every assurance that the systems you have put in place maximize their safety. To learn more about how Tension can successfully automate your hospital pharmacy, contact us here today.