In a previous post I mused about using an automated packaging system like InSite from Talyst as a type of automated dispensing cabinet for acute care patients. InSite was designed for long-term care and would simply be too large for the needs of an acute care nursing unit, but the technology is ideal.
However, the ATP-71 (PDF) from Swisslog is a bulk packager that can hold up to 71 canisters in a relatively small footprint: 31.5 inches wide x 29.6 inches deep x 30.6 inches high. For comparison, a Pyxis MedStation 4000 2-drawer main unit is 22.8 inches wide x 26.7 inches deep x 27.7 inches high. I would say that makes the two units comparable in terms of size, and I can tell you from personal experience that a 2-drawer main isn’t very big up close.
According to Swisslog: “Swisslog’s high-speed packaging and barcoding solutions are not only fast and efcient, they provide many levels of patient safety. Color coded fll-to-light trays, locking canisters, and accurate labeling with barcode capabilities enable pharmacies in any size hospital to make patient safety the highest priority. Many additional accessories and interfacing capabilities complement the packager and provide gains in workfow effciency.”
For those of you that aren’t familiar with bulk packagers you should take a look at the technology; it’s very interesting. Loose tablets/capsules are placed in a medication canister that is fitted with a computerized chip that uniquely identifies the medication contained inside. Once started the packager drops tablets/capsules one at a time from the canister, down a shoot and into a hopper where they are packaged and labeled with the medication name, strength, dosage form, lot, expiration, barcode, etc. We’ve found it to be a very efficient way to unit-dose and barcode large numbers of bulk tablets/capsules.
I still like the idea of having a small unit like this on the nursing units. Maybe I could talk Carefusion into adding something like this to their line of Pyxis products.