Dose management tools improve workflow, reduce medication errors

October 15, 2011

Dose management tools used in the oncology and central pharmacies of a Maryland medical center have improved pharmacy workflow and reduced medication errors.

Key Points

While Killian does not yet have hard numbers from a workflow analysis made after implementation of the dose management tools, actual experience has shown that it has improved the pharmacists' workflow. "We know that pharmacists are not walking into the IV room as much and back and forth as much," Killian said.

Dose management tools became a necessity soon after Peninsula purchased a large oncology office in 2007, Killian said.

Peninsula executives first tried out dose management tools in the small Cancer Institute pharmacy, increasing the staff from 1 pharmacist to 1 pharmacist and 2 technicians. "If we had not implemented it, we would not have been able to meet the customers' needs, in terms of turn-around time," Killian said.

How it works

Along with the DoseEdge Pharmacy Workflow Manager software, 1 touch-screen workstation was implemented for each of the 3 hoods. The system works as follows. The pharmacist enters the medication order into the pharmacy information system. When the technician is ready to process the order, he or she highlights the dose management tool within DoseEdge, which prints an "in process" label. The "in process" label does not include a final administration bar code.

The technician prepares the product according to standard work, which is displayed on the DoseEdge workstation. Once the task is completed, the software notifies the pharmacist that the product needs verification. After the pharmacist verifies the product remotely, the system notifies the technician that the dose is ready to go and a final administration bar code is printed.