For several hospitals, dispensing pre-assembled medication trays—various consisting of more than fifty drugs for different medical processes—can be a labor-intensive, time-consuming task for pharmacy staffs.
Although, RFID technology is being leveraged by New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital (NYPBMH) to decrease the price and time needed to handle its medication tray assembly procedure by automating tray dispensing. At the similar time, executives there say the facility has made better accuracy and eradicated human mistake.
Righard van Niekerk, director of pharmacy informatics at NYPBMH says, "The focus is on sufferer safety and improving the care that we offer to patients."
By utilizing the technology of RFID, the 651-bed facility has automated its tray restocking procedure, making sure that every medication is accounted for, 100% correct and within expiration guidelines.
Righard van Niekerk adds, "Prior to executing the RFID tagging solution, it was a very tedious procedure and was also not essentially the safest option, because we would manually restock or replenish the kits. We needed to make certain that we offered a safe option to our physicians and clinicians using the kits."
He points out that NYPBMH's staff uses RFID readers to make sure that the medications are right, tracking expiration dates as well as batch numbers. "All that checking is now incorporated within the system," claims van Niekerk. "Human error has been eliminated."
Moreover, van Niekerk notes that the hospital has decreased mortality due to sepsis by 6%, and decreased infections and medication mistakes. Additionally, NYPBMH has improved vaccination administration.
In accordance to van Niekerk, under the new automated procedure, the average technician preparation time has reduced significantly, from about 20 to 30 minutes (relying on tray complexity) to almost 3.5 to 7.25 minutes. As an outcome, he claims the total technician Full Time Equivalent (FTE) time spent has gone from approximately 5 FTEs to 2.5 FTEs.
Additionally, many pharmacist FTEs was decreased from 1.5 to almost zero because the requirement for checking medications was entirely eliminated—this time savings has enabled the redeployment of staff to patient care roles within the pharmacy department. And, when it comes to cost, the total FTE cost was cut in half from $1.2 million to $600,000.
And Niekerk adds that staff satisfaction surveys indicated that jobs were made more convenient, workflow was simplified, and patient care was positively affected overall.
NYPBMH has acquired acute care Stage 7 validation on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model due to its innovative use of RFID technology to improve distribution for medications. The facility will be identified later this month at the 2017 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in the region of Orlando, Fla.