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Pharmacy systems

Royal Ottawa Hospital introduces state-of-the-art medication system

OTTAWA – The Royal Ottawa Hospital has introduced to the region a state-of-the-art pharmacy dispensing system that reduces medication error and clinical time required by pharmacists and nurses.

The new drug dispensing system functions like an automated bank machine on each of the patient care units, with a touch screen and on-line information about the treatment regime for each patient.

Daily medications will be accessed though the touch screen, resulting in a single dose of medication – dispensed in the same way cash is dispensed in a bank machine.

“One of the benefits of building a brand new facility is that we can put in place leading edge technology that directly benefits the safety and recovery of our patients,” said Bruce H. Swan, CEO (pictured at left) of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. “This new pharmacy system is the first of its kind east of Toronto, and will bring tremendous efficiencies in the way we deliver specialized mental health services.”

The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group partnered with McKesson Canada, which adapted their automation technology for the existing Royal Ottawa Hospital and its sister facility, Brockville Psychiatric Hospital.

Once the new Royal Ottawa Hospital opens in December 2006, the new pharmacy system will integrate seamlessly with the wireless technology planned for the telephone, computer, and Internet systems in the new facility.

The McKesson Canada pharmacy system provides an automated packaging function based on each patient’s individual needs, which helps eliminate medication errors and ensures secure storage and rapid dispensing of all drugs required on patient care units.

The AcuDose-RX function will track all medications dispensed, how and when they are administered, and by which clinician to which patient.

“McKesson Canada is pleased to provide automation solutions to the Royal Health Care Group and assist them in reaching their goal of improving patient safety, and being a leader in specialized mental health care,” said Olivier Martin, director of McKesson Automation Solutions.

According to Steve Layton, director of Pharmacy for the Royal Ottawa Hospital, the hospital dispenses $700,000 worth of over 52 psychiatric medications each year. The largest volume of these medications is clozapine, a drug used to treat schizophrenia.

“Statistically, medication error rates range from 3 percent in a unit dose system to approximately 20 percent in a traditional distribution system, such as the former system we were using,” Mr. Layton said. “The Royal Ottawa Hospital has a lower than average error rate, but we want to get that percentage down as low as we can. Our new technology will help us do that.”