Hey, don’t forget about the technology in the central pharmacy

The February 1, 2011 issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (AJHP) has an interesting article on page 202 in a section called Management Consultation. The article is titled “Redesigning the workflow of central pharmacy operations”1. I’d like to have everyone read this article, but unfortunately access requires a ASHP membership or an AHJP subscription.

The article discusses the process involved in redesigning the workflow within an acute care central pharmacy, but fails to mention the use of technology.

So let’s break it down a bit, shall we?

  1. “During this process, it is important to consider whether a technician can perform some of the functions that pharmacists have traditionally performed and whether several tasks can be combined to reduce labor requirements.” – . Robotics, carousel technology, automated packaging, IV room technology, etc are all valuable tools that could easily create a pharmacy technician driven central pharmacy.
  2. “A significant percentage of a pharmacist’s time is consumed by order entry, order verification, order clarification, and follow-up activities for orders. “ – Doesn’t this sound like that whole NUPOR thing again? Yep, I think auto-verification is in order.
  3. “For example, patients’ medications are not always transferred (or returned for credit) in an accurate and efficient manner. Patient movement and inadequate transfer of drugs are two of the primary reasons why central drug distribution systems, patient medication carts, and patient server systems are difficult to manage, leading to lost doses, extra work by the pharmacy, and nurse frustration.” – Get away from the car fill model and move toward a decentralized ADC model.
  4. “The chart should first list time-dependent activities (e.g., preparation of TPN solutions, drug delivery and return, chemotherapy preparation).” – Robotics.

Just sayin’.


  1. Nold, Edward G. Redesigning the workflow of central pharmacy operations. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2011 68: 202-203

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