Insulin is one of those drugs that must be carefully monitored when administering to a patient, otherwise, the results could be life-threatening. Most hospitals across the United States take advantage of automated dispensing cabinets, which are used to aid in dispensing medication to patients. This article will address options that are available when the decision is made to use automated dispensing cabinets to administer insulin. Knowing these options will facilitate the decision-making process when that time comes for a patient to use one of those options.
Looking at Automated Dispensing Cabinets in Hospitals
It is difficult to go into a hospital in today’s settings without seeing dispensing cabinets somewhere near a nurse’s station. After a while, medication dispensing machines in hospitals will be the norm rather than the exception, as more healthcare professionals learn to rely upon their accuracy. It will become typical to know exactly what medication is inside the cabinet, who has access to the medicines, and which patient gets what specific medication. The great benefit of this is that there will be significant cost-savings generated by spending less money on pharmacy-delivery fees. Another benefit is that the hospital will be able to avoid the theft or loss of controlled medications.
Options When Managing Insulin Through Automated Dispensing Cabinets
Insulin is costly and one of the medications that will need to be managed for dispensing to patients, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices recommends that an insulin vial should be restricted per patient. There are three options for controlling insulin in this manner, with the first being having the first dose delivered by the pharmacy. The pharmacy will dispense the vial that is prescribed for the patient and stocks the supply in a single bin in the automated dispensing cabinet (ADC) designated for that patient. The software system that is used for controlling insulin in this manner is SinglePointe.
More Options for Managing Insulin Through the ADC
The second option for managing insulin is by having the nurse control the medicine with the vials stored in the ADC as part of the floor stock item. When the nurse first issues the vial, a medication label printer will be used to print the patient’s information specifically for that vial. The value of using the ADC is the assurance of medication availability, workflow improvement, and the safety of the medication. It is important to remember and be assured that the vial will always be returned to the patient-specific bin from which it was taken.
A Third Option and Final Look at Managing Insulin Through the ADC
A third option that is available is actually using a vial for multiple patients, but careful attention must be given throughout the entire process of dispensing medications. Instead of labels being printed for the vial, a label will be printed for the syringe that is prescribed for each patient. This will save money and time for the hospital and the staff who will be glad for the easier method of controlling the insulin. It is projected that automated dispensing cabinets will be the way all hospitals handle medication dispensing, eliminating the great need to depend on outside pharmacies for the task. Automated dispensing cabinets are part of the robotic future in the healthcare sector.