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Is This The End For The ‘traditional’ Drug Cupboard In Hospitals?

– the ‘traditional’ cupboard makes way for an intelligent and automated medicine storage cabinet with impressive results

An 18-month trial in the trust which opened England’s first hospital dedicated to 24-7 emergency care, has found that significant cost-savings and efficiencies can be made by installing a revolutionary medication automation cabinet system provided by Omnicell, a leading provider of medication adherence packaging and automated healthcare solutions.

In the wake of the Lord Carter review which highlights the urgent need for efficiencies and standardised savings across the NHS, the impressive results from the trial show nurse time savings of £7,000 per department (0.25 WTE band 5 nurse-time) which has been released back to patient care; patient safety benefits with a 0% critical missed dosed rate and a 6% financial reduction in medicine spend per patient.

The unique partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Omnicell Ltd saw the trial of the automated storage and ordering systems in two of its general hospitals in the North East. The rationale behind the collaboration was the need for the Pharmacy team to address a number of issues including; time ‘wasted’ by staff looking for medicine cupboard keys, over-reliance on human accuracy for manual ‘top-up’ ordering and inadequate audit trail of medicines, amongst others.

Quantitative and qualitative evaluation from the extensive trial found:

  • the average drug spend post automation dropped on average by 6% per patient and equated to an annual drug efficiency saving of £7,500 per year or £30,000 across the four departments
  • stock-out fell from 22% in January 2014 to 6% in February 2014 reducing nursing led ordering, increasing stock efficiency and availability of medicines for patients
  • pharmacy believe that Omnicell has improved patient care and medicines management by utilising patient safety features such as Dispensing Alerts for e.g. allergy status checking, NPSA alert compliance, antibiotic stewardship etc.

Trinity PR successfully sold-in this case study story to a number of trade publications including National Health Executive, Innovation Today, Building Better Healthcare and International Pharmaceutical Industry.


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