New Drug Vending Machines Increase Patient Safety

Botsford Hospital's New Drug Vending Machine

Pharmacy Technician Scott Markwart demonstrates the features of a new medication dispensing machine, including its touch screen, touch pad, keyboard and fingerprint reader.

Several areas of the hospital are getting new vending machines — but not the kind that dispenses stale sandwiches.  These machines dispense medications for our inpatients in a faster and safer manner.

The drug dispensing cabinets further automate Botsford’s medication distribution process.  Clinicians get a safe and efficient method to administer and track medications with the  touch of a few buttons.

The new system helps Botsford’s pharmacy:

  • Monitor and control medication dispensing and administration
  • Know when to restock
  • Improve patient care
  • Comply with regulatory standards
  • Decrease inventory costs

When the hospital’s electronic medical record system goes live later this year, the vending machines will “talk” to a patient’s medical record and help to manage physician order processing.

The vending machine adds additional safety and security checks to protect against medication errors.  According to Dave Pas from the Botsford inpatient pharmacy, “We now use bar code scans twice before a medication ever gets to a patient. When we refill the cabinets, we scan the drug and then the bin where the drug is being placed. The nurse then comes to the cabinet, takes the drug out and scans it once more.”

Nurses access various screens for information about drug allergies and patient  management. Compared to getting medications before the vending machines, it now actually takes nurses 5 to 10 seconds longer, but the advance in patient safety is worth it.

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