Pharmacy Medication Safety: Improving Safety Through Automation
Medication safety is a top concern for every pharmacy. Mistakes in prescription dispensing, including errors in quantity and dosage, can lead to serious health problems for patients both immediately as well as in the future. There’s also the problem of pill dust, which can be created during the dispensing process. This leads to air contamination that can, if inhaled, threaten the wellness of pharmacy staff and patients.
We dive into these dangers and show you how automation can play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of both your patients and pharmacy staff.
Eliminating medication dispensing errors
Automation not only makes pharmacies more efficient, it makes them much safer. Multiple studies show that robotic dispensing systems are faster and more accurate than their human counterparts. These systems are designed to fill the right drug at the right strength for the right patient … every single time. The technology utilizes barcode scanning for every prescription, dramatically increasing accuracy. Any mis-scans alert the operator, and real time data can be collected and organized into reports for later analysis. With medication filling duties covered by a robotic system, pharmacy staff have more time to spend on front-line care with patients.
Mitigating pill dust and cross-contamination
While robotic systems can eliminate errors in filling prescriptions, properly designed systems can also help reduce dangers from pill dust contamination. Systems that utilize compressed air to propel pills and force them through a nozzle at high speeds generate this dust, which can be inhaled by operating staff.
And actually, anyone in the vicinity of these compressed air systems might be putting themselves at risk of inhaling pharmaceutical dust. Exposure to this kind of airborne contamination can contribute to upper respiratory inflammation and poses a risk from airborne contaminants to the medication itself. Cross-contamination can introduce traces of unwanted drugs into a prescription, potentially harming your patients.
Pharmacy operators ready to make the leap to robotics should look for those designed to minimize pharmaceutical dust – for example, by employing systems that do not use compressed air in the dispensing process – in order to minimize chances of air contamination.
There is no doubt that the use of robotic dispensing and workflow systems improve safety. These systems, which are fast, efficient, and increase total return on investment, eliminate the risks associated with human error as well as minimize pill dust. Pharmacy staff are freed up to concentrate on providing the clinical services that collaborative care requires, and to do so in a safe pharmacy environment.