Automated Dispensing Cabinets

Automated Dispensing Cabinets
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Special PP&P Buyer’s Guide:
Automated Dispensing Cabinets
for every facility, implementing automated dispensing cabinets as part of a decentralized or hybrid medication distribution system can improve patient safety and the
accountability of your inventory, streamline certain billing processes, and, ultimately,
lead to increased nursing and patient satisfaction.
Because automated dispensing cabinets track user access and dispensed medications, their use can improve your control over your drug inventory. The real-time
inventory reports generated by many cabinets can simplify the fill process and help
pharmacy track expired drugs. Furthermore, by restricting individual drugs – such
as high-risk medications and controlled substances – to unique drawers within the
cabinet, you can improve your overall inventory management, patient safety, and
medication security. Of further benefit to your patient safety bottom line, automated
dispensing cabinets allow the pharmacy department to profile physician orders
before they are dispensed.
Automated cabinets can also enable providers to capture medication charges
upon dispensing, reducing the billing paperwork pharmacy is responsible for. In
addition, nurses can note returned medications using the cabinets’ computers,
enabling direct credits to patients’ accounts.
In theory, because automated dispensing cabinets make drugs available on the
nursing unit floor, nursing will have speedier access to a patient’s medications.
Decreased wait time can lead to less frustration on the part of your nursing staff and
to improved patient comfort and care.
In selecting automated dispensing cabinets for your facility, there are several considerations to make. First, determine what drugs will be dispensed
from the cabinets. If you plan to store only PRN medications and narcotics in
the cabinets, your most important goals will be the security, accountability,
and availability of doses; line-item capacity will not be the most important consideration. For this dispensing model, consider a cabinet with fewer drawers
or pockets, but one with locked, lidded, or other types of restricted-access
drawers to provide controlled-substance security. If you plan to dispense all
patient medications from your automated cabinets, consider a device with
numerous drawers and pockets. In this instance, restricted-access drawers can
also ensure that nurses pick the right medication from the cabinet’s potentially
extensive inventory.
In addition, it is important to evaluate the cabinet’s reporting capabilities.
Concise inventory reports can help streamline pharmacy’s inventory management
tasks and identify possible cases of drug diversion. You should also research the vendor’s track record; make sure their cabinets are not prone to extensive periods of
system down time and that they are responsive in providing customer service.
Following are descriptions of a majority of the automated dispensing cabinets
currently available in the market. To request more information on a particular product listed in the buyer’s guide, simply circle its corresponding reader service number
on PP&P’s free reader service card (bound in every issue).
AmerisourceBergen Technology Group
Customizable and modular, MedSelect medication cabinets can store active data and transactions for
five years, enabling health systems to search for medication usage trends and outliers. In addition,
customizable alerts help the pharmacy control medication usage. The available DrugPoints database
from Thomson Micromedex puts medication information at the nurse’s fingertips at the MedSelect
display terminal, and a biometric scanner can increase security and save time during login. A bar code
scanner helps expand tracking and accurately confirm inventories. MedSelect also offers single-dose
dispensing for increased inventory control. MedSelect’s Resource Data Center – the functional core
operating system – runs on Oracle 9i and a Windows 2003 server, allowing the IT department to manage virus protection centrally. The MedSelect line also includes SupplySelect automated supply dispensing and management cabinets, Centrack automated narcotics management, and Examiner data
analysis and reporting tools. MedSelect’s cabinets are linked to a centralized database network that
tracks cabinet inventory, usage by patient, usage by provider, and other critical data.
For more information, circle reader service number 32 or visit
Cardinal Health
The Pyxis MedStation 3000 automated medication management system offers communication
and workflow-optimization tools to help nursing, pharmacy, and clinicians work collaboratively
in their efforts to deliver safe, high-quality patient care. Secure stations and auxiliaries are available
in a variety of sizes and configurations, with drawers that offer single line-item access and
single-dose dispensing.
For more information, circle reader service number 31
or visit
September 2006
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Cardinal Health
The Pyxis CIISafe system can streamline and improve documentation of controlled substances, and
significantly reduce the time and expense of meeting JCAHO standards and government regulations, by eliminating time-consuming and error-prone manual recordkeeping. You can check inventory and retrieve information on individual transactions with just a few keystrokes, helping you pinpoint discrepancies or diversions. In addition, the Pyxis CIISafe system connects with the Pyxis
MedStation system to provide hospital-wide management of controlled substances.
For more information, circle reader service number 28
or visit
medDISPENSE produces two types of dispensing automation: Base Units and Auxiliary Units. Nurses
use Base Units, which feature a computer and touch screen, to pull patient medications and control
any attached Auxiliary Units. Base Units are available in three models: Base 25, Base 45, Base 72,
named according to their number of drawers. medDISPENSE’s line of Auxiliary Units consists of the
Combo Tower, with 45 standard drawers and 5.6 cubic feet of shelved bulk, and the Supply Tower,
with 11.2 cubic feet of shelved bulk storage space. In addition to the equipment listed above,
medDISPENSE also offers a refrigerated unit, Half Combo and Half Supply towers for specialty use,
and double-width drawers for high-volume line items.
For more information, circle reader service number 6 or visit
McKesson Automation
The ergonomically designed AcuDose-Rx unit-based cabinet system features a 15-inch touch screen
flat-panel color monitor, which provides large, easy-to-read text and familiar icons, helping nurses
access the right medications faster. AcuDose-Rx also includes an override system, configurable warning indicators for drug classes and allergies, tall-man lettering to prevent look-alike/sound-alike drug
errors, and a drug information library, aiding compliance with JCAHO and state regulations.
AcuDose-Rx can also store up to 432 line items in individually locked pockets.
AcuDose-Rx integrates with McKesson’s suite of medication safety solutions, including ConnectRN for medication retrieval, Horizon Admin-Rx for medication administration, NarcStation to automatically manage controlled substances, MedDirect to provide override alerts and notifications,
ROBOT-Rx and MedCarousel for automated cabinet fill, and Fulfill-Rx for optimizing medication cabinet inventory.
For more information, circle reader service number 33
or visit
MTS Medication Technologies
The MedLocker Medication Management System offers secure and affordable emergency and
first dose medication administration in long-term care (LTC) facilities. The MedLocker system
uses secured cabinets in conjunction with bar coded compliance packaging and inventory management software to facilitate the process of remote medication storage and access. The
MedLocker system assists pharmacies in improving their response time when filling emergency
and first dose prescriptions.
For more information, circle reader service number 34 or visit
OmniRx medication dispensing cabinets come in a variety of sizes, with a range of drawer
types. The cabinets also feature biometric ID security systems and single-dose dispensing
capabilities for increased security and inventory control. Bar code scanning features verify the
identity and location of a medication, and “guiding light” technology directs the user to the
correct medication during dispensing and restocking. The cabinets are integrated with a Web
browser for clinical reference information and patient medication profiling.
For more information, circle reader service number 35 or visit
September 2006
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