How not to design an application for pharmacy

I’ve used Pyxis PARx before, but only in combination with a carousel storage system. I recently had the opportunity to play with the standalone version of PARx and all I have to say is yikes!

The system utilizes an older version of Windows Mobile on a clunky Motorola handheld. To get from log-in to a useful place in the application required me to go through no less than four screens. The touch screen was unresponsive and difficult to use, the device was painfully slow and the connectivity was lacking.

So, to sum up my experience with PARx – used with carousel technology it’s great, but try to use the standalone product and you might find yourself spewing profanity.


More thoughts on standardization

I’ve mentioned this before several times on this blog, but feel like I have to say it yet again; we need to start standardizing certain things about health information technology. The lack of standardization reared its ugly head at me again last week when our Pyxis med stations kept dropping medications off of patient’s active profiles. It appeared to always be the same drug, IV ketorolac. It took me a while to figure out the problem, but it turns out that Pyxis and our pharmacy system don’t agree on certain basic elements of time. Go figure.
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Medicated patch slips into wrong ADC pocket


Hospital Pharmacy: “During the process of with drawing a patient’s nicotine patch from an automated dispensing cabinet (ADC), a carousel pocket opened to reveal 2 nicotine patches and 1 fentaNYL 50 mcg/hr patch. The nurse using the ADC immediately called the pharmacy to report the discrepancy. The pharmacy investigated and found that it was not a dispensing error. Both patches (nicotine and fentaNYL) were stored in the same medication carousel, and the fentaNYL patch slipped over the top of one pocket and into another pocket that contained nicotine patches. Generally, the hospital reserved ADC carousel pockets for controlled substances, but there was a history of pilferage of the nicotine patches when stored in matrix drawers. To deter pilferage, the pharmacy began stocking them in secure carousel pockets with the tracking feature on to count the product. FentaNYL was in a nearby pocket by itself, but when the carousel turned, patches sticking up from the fentaNYL pocket were caught and dragged to another pocket that housed nicotine patches.” - This type of occurrence is more common than you might think. To prevent this type of thing from happening, many hospitals will utilize a system similar to the Pyxis CUBIE system. Pyxis CUBIE pockets are small containers with a clear plastic lid. The lid remains closed until that medication is accessed via the Pyxis medication terminal. This prevents items from jumping to another location.

Thinking about a better Automated Dispensing Unit (ADU)

Automated Dispensing Units (ADUs), also referred to as Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADCs), are nothing new to hospital pharmacy. Over 80% of hospital pharmacies use ADUs. The most common is a product from Cardinal called Pyxis MedStation. Others include Omnicell SinglePointe, McKessen AutoDose-Rx and medDISPENSE (part of Emerson Electric Co.). Currently Pyxis is the clear front runner, and for good reason. They offer a great product.
Continue reading Thinking about a better Automated Dispensing Unit (ADU)