New Castle News

August 12, 2013

Jameson Hospital realizes benefits of full-scale solution

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The scene isn’t quite from a science fiction movie. But robotic technology has a strong presence in Jameson Hospital’s pharmacy department.

Its partnership with McKesson Automation created a high quality, cost-effective solution that frees pharmacy staff to focus on clinical care.

Ron Shollenberger, director of Jameson’s pharmacy, said the recently completed robot-automated system will work hand in hand with the MAK system. Introduced last year, MAK matches patients with the proper medication and dosage.

And once again, patient safety is the most important factor.

“We’re taking advantage of bar code technology,” Shollenberger said.

The automated medication system can dispense, track, reorder and manage medications, he said.

Shollenberger noted that anesthesia carts in the eight operating rooms and emergency room are also equipped with the technology to dispense medications.

Heather Salata, a clinical pharmacist, said the new technology frees well-trained technicians to perform duties traditionally done by pharmacists and pharmacists can now work more with doctors, nurses and other patient-care staff.

She added the pharmacist can look up medications needed for specific conditions and avoid medicine overlap.

Shollenberger said the new technology expands functions of dispensing cabinets on patient floors. The cabinets have been in place for about eight years.

Changes in central pharmacy involve two major pieces of automated equipment.

The MedCarousel is a storage system that contains 24 shelves, and is four bins deep. This allows quadruple storage controlled by automation and relying on bar codes.

The MedCarousel storage and dispensing system will help support better inventory management and improved productivity, Salata noted.

The second component in the central pharmacy is the ProManager — a device that stores 12,000 individual doses of medicine.

The automation makes sure the nurse has every medication needed, Salata said. She adding that now instead of pharmacists manually looking at medicines, labeling, matching them with patients, signing them off and re-ordering, everything is done by computer and the bar code function.

The technology put Jameson ahead of the game in another way. Shollenberger estimated only about 25 percent of hospitals the size of Jameson use a carousel system. By 2016, he said, 83 percent of all hospitals will have some sort of similar system.

“We dispense almost a million doses a year and everything leaving central pharmacy is scanned by bar code,” he said.

“This eliminates misreading and human error,” Salata explained.

The automation system is linked into the McKesson Corp. distribution center.

“This changes our world dramatically,” Shollenberger said. “This revolutionizes the way we dispense medications.”

(Email: lhudson@ncnewsonline.com.)