Friday, May 7, 2010

Northwest Hospital Debuts New Pharmacy Device

Northwest Hospital recently purchased a new automated pharmacy device for its intravenous medication preparation, making it one of the few hospitals in the country to do so.

Last month, Northwest became one of a few dozen hospitals nationwide to use DoseEdge, which provides more features to ensure the safety of IV medications. Any medication that is given intravenously, rather than orally, works quickly and efficiently since it goes directly into a patient’s blood stream, says Northwest Hospital Director of Pharmacy Ken Mercer. But the disadvantage is the wrong dose of an IV medication can cause huge problems for a patient.

“The IV lab is where we produce our highest risk and highest cost medications,” says Mercer. “IV medications must be prepared in a sterile area similar to an operating room.”

DoseEdge offers a combination of bar code scanning and dose tracking to help keep patients safe. While bar code scanning is common when dealing with oral medications, DoseEdge marks the first time that this scanning is available for IV medications.

“All of the IV products that we carry for preparation of doses are built in a formulary,” says Mercer. “When IV medication orders that need to be prepared are sent to the DoseEdge system, the pharmacy preparer is prompted to complete a series of steps in the preparation.”

All products used in the preparation of the dose are barcode scanned to confirm they are correct. If the pharmacy preparer attempts to use an incorrect product, DoseEdge won’t allow them to proceed, thus preventing a medication error.

DoseEdge’s dose track ability feature is another new, added benefit.

“Before DoseEdge, all we could identify is that a dose was sent from the pharmacy system for preparation, but there was no way to know the progress of the dose or where the dose was,” Mercer says. This would create the occasional problem with the lab being able to see that the dose was requested for preparation, but could not see if the dose was made or where it was delivered.

Now, with DoseEdge, Mercer compares an individual dose of IV medication to being similar to ordering a package via FedEx or UPS: in the same way that you can see that your new Amazon book is headed to Kentucky, pharmacists can see that the important dose is ready and en route to a nurse.

The next step of the DoseEdge implementation is a “scan on delivery” feature, Mercer says. The pharmacy staff member making the IV dose delivery will scan the dose into the appropriate delivery place, such as a nurse server drawer or medication refrigerator.

“We will then be able to tell the nurse exactly where their dose is and when it was placed there,” Mercer says. “This will represent fewer lost and remade wasted doses, saving time and money on duplicate work and improving customer satisfaction.”

To see a video of DoseEdge at work, click here.

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