Minn. hospital improves efficiency with patient-specific med management software

July 14, 2008

The pharmacy and nursing staff at Rice Memorial Hospital report improvements in efficiency following implementation of Omnicell's SinglePointe system.

Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, Minn., has seen a 55% reduction in the time required to manage patient-specific medications since the implementation of SinglePointe software from Mountain View, Calif.-based Omnicell, Inc.

Results of a survey given to pharmacists and nurses before and after SinglePointe was implemented revealed striking improvements in patient safety, such as allowing clinicians to focus on patient care rather than tracking down missing medications, increased pharmacy productivity and efficiency by automating time-consuming manual processes, decreased instances of missing medications, and effective management and timely availability of patients' own medications.

SinglePointe software provides profiled access to all medications stored in Omnicell dispensing cabinets. It also provides profiled storage of compounded controlled substances and pharmacy-prepared IV admixtures, secure storage of patients' own medications to be administered in the hospital, and secure storage of multi-use medications such as inhalers. It also automates medications ordered but not stocked in a cabinet.

Omnicell executives point out that SinglePointe, unlike conventional automated cartfill cabinet systems, ensures that all of a patient's medications are readily available at all times, thereby allowing clinicians to focus on patient care by avoiding work-arounds and delays that can lead to errors.

Cervin said that SinglePointe has had a significant impact on patient safety. For example, when the medication information is entered into the pharmacy information system, it's then stocked into the Omnicell cabinet, allowing the nurse to access that medication by name, dose, and quantity. In the past, Cervin noted, that wasn't the case with cartfill. "It was a blanket option that they [the nurse] would pick a cabinet and it would direct them to the bin and they could take out whatever they needed, however many they wanted, and you didn't know what they were accessing." The SinglePointe software also keeps a running count of how many medications are left in the cabinet and when it needs to be restocked.

Cervin said that pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and nurses have reported "improved results" post-SinglePointe implementation.

"The one thing that I really like about Omnicell's SinglePointe is that it allows hospitals to store drugs in both patient- and drug-specific compartments," said Mark Neuenschwander, a Bellevue, Wash.-based technology analyst. Neuenschwander said that he has been encouraging automation vendors to offer this type of technology and hospitals to use it for years. "It bothers me that we rightfully require patient profiles for picking medications out of automatic dispensing machines and then don't seem to care if nurses riffle through multiple patient-specific bins in manual carts to get a medication for a patient."

THE AUTHOR is a writer based in New Jersey.