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Bluewater Health Pharmacy Deploys New BoxPicker® Technology

More than 1.3 million medication unit dose packets and 72,000 IV sterile admixtures are dispensed from Bluewater Health’s Pharmacy each year, so our patients receive the right drugs at the right time for the right reason. Until recently, all medications have been “picked” manually. That means a Pharmacy Technician would locate a medication on the shelf and manually select the strength and quantity required. A second Technician would be required to perform a visual double-check.

On January 24, the Pharmacy deployed its new BoxPicker® technology – equipment and software that stores, controls and manages barcoded medication.

“The BoxPicker, which the Pharmacy has named PICasso, fully automates medication storage and retrieval. This not only increases safety, but also allows the Pharmacy staff to spend less time locating, picking and verifying medications,” says Andrea Wist, Director of Pharmacy. “This new technology is also expected to reduce medication waste by 60% due to its ability to pull the dose nearest to expiry and tighter inventory control allowing us to keep less stock.”

All items are brought to a single operator station for retrieval and verification. Multiple workstations allow for simultaneous operations, improving efficiency. Users have no exposure to internal moving parts, increasing safety of Pharmacy staff. Limited access and scan-in-and-scan-out technology decrease opportunity for error. Password-protected operator access ensures inventory control and audit capabilities.

“In addition, PICasso will enable our organization to be future-ready as all drugs leaving PICasso are barcoded,” adds Wist. The complete system of the future will also incorporate computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE), electronic medication administration record (eMAR) and Alaris® smart pumps to ensure patient safety from different aspects of the medication process. In the future system, the nurse scans their own employee ID badge, the patient wristband, the barcode on each medication package and the patients’ eMAR (electronic medication record) to verify and document the medication to be administered.