State-of-the-Art Pharmacy System
Increases Patient Safety

February 1, 2013 9:34 am Views: 411
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(L-R) Pharmacist Sean Chai-Chong and pharmacy technician Ben Choi scan medications into a new electronic inventory management system in Providence Healthcare’s retail pharmacy.

In November, Providence Healthcare became the first hospital in Canada to implement the BeaconTM Inventory Management System from TCGRx, a new automatic medication dispenser, for its new on-site retail pharmacy.

“When we first spoke about opening a retail pharmacy for our patients, staff and the surrounding community, we needed to be space conscious. We also wanted a system that would be quick to use and user friendly to ensure more time for customer service,” explains James Lam, Director of Clinical Services and Organizational Health. “We chose this system because it offered comprehensive automated medication inventory management for patient safety and efficiency.”

Through the use of a touch-screen display and a cordless scanner, the system locates medication using light activation technology. Bright LEDs identify the correct drawer for picking or stocking medications and numeric displays specify the correct row and slot position within the storage area. Pharmacy staff use bar code technology to scan each order, helping to ensure the right medication is dispensed for the right patient – an impressive feature for an organization serving a diverse population.

Through its hospital, Providence offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation to adults of all ages, as well as palliative care. As an active community partner and resource for the people of Toronto’s east end, Providence offers clinics to promote recovery and well-being, caregiver support, an adult day program for people with dementia and long-term care for 288 residents. The retail pharmacy will be available to support the organization’s 8,000 patients and their families as well as Providence’s 1,400 staff and volunteers.

“With this system, we can develop the ideal inventory for our customers by tracking what and how often we are dispensing as well as what is expiring on our shelves so that we have a better idea of what we can keep in stock,” says Sean Chai-Chong, Pharmacy Manager for Providence’s retail pharmacy. “Plus, like the majority of hospitals, we have a very compact space to work in. This system allows us to maximize our workspace through high density storage.”

From inventory control to accuracy in dispensing to improved workflow efficiencies, Providence is able to provide a small, yet fully stocked pharmacy for its patients, clients and surrounding community.

“Human errors are reduced significantly compared with traditional pharmacies,” adds Lam. “It allows us to free up time for our pharmacist and technician so they have more time to spend one-on-one with patients.”

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Patti Enright

Patti Enright is Communications Specialist, Shared Information Management Services, University Health Network.

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