Medication management and distribution in the operating room (OR) can be labor-intensive and prone to human error. Making sure medication inventory is available when and where needed, and safe, is imperative and time-critical. Some hospitals have adopted automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) to help with medication management in the OR. However, maintaining adequate inventory levels, eliminating stock-outs, managing outdated inventory and handling recalls continues to be time-consuming and an ongoing challenge. Augmenting existing cabinets with RFID systems enables pharmacists to more accurately and efficiently manage critical inventory.
The pharmacy team is responsible for daily loading, unloading, and refilling of all medications within ADC systems to ensure drug, dose and quantities are accurate, manage drug expiry/outdate tracking, reconcile discrepancies and locate and remove recalled drugs. Every refill / load and / or remove transaction must be documented by either clinical anesthesia users or pharmacy staff to ensure ADC inventory data remains accurate and reliable. This process can involve manual key-in at the station, or barcode scanning of each medication during the refill/load and clinician medication removal workflow.
ADCs sometimes convey unreliable inventory details, where the reported inventory does not match the inventory physically present in the station. Common reasons for discrepancies with anesthesia medication station inventory include:
- Barcode scan during refill or removal was missed or omitted
- User removed quantity different than requested
- User with prior access cancelled removal, but withdrew the medication
- User made a typographical error
- User count verification is incorrect
- Override not reconciled
- There was a diversion
Why RFID Healthcare Technology
Augmenting anesthesia medication dispensing cabinet inventory management with a radio frequency identification (RFID) system speeds replenishment, removes physical counting, and eliminates reliance on inaccurate ADC inventory levels and refill reports. With RFID, faster and more accurate refill, expiry and recall management are achieved, and actionable usage analytics allow informed decision-making to optimize inventory.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. RFID healthcare technology is used to improve medication safety, reduce inventory costs and increase efficiency. Using RFID, error-prone tasks such as manual counting and item-level scanning are eliminated. This limited disruption to natural workflow increases adoption and compliance and creates multiple efficiencies.
>>Read more about RFID in healthcare
As an example of the benefits of RFID, a Drug Topics article titled "Hospitals Turn to RFID for Medication Replenishment" highlights how hospital pharmacy automation eliminates human error and speeds time-consuming and inefficient tasks. Pharmacy Operations Managers who have adopted the Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management System for pharmacy automation discuss their experiences.
>>View Drug Topics article
Increasing Accuracy and Efficiency of Anesthesia Inventory Management
RFID automation supports the consistent and ongoing challenges of accurately and efficiently managing inventory in anesthesia automated medication dispensing cabinets. Download the "Using RFID to Augment Automated Dispensing Cabinet Anesthesia Medication Inventory" white paper to learn more about the process and benefits of using RFID healthcare technology for anesthesia inventory management.