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Excellence in Action: Automation Makes IV Medications Safer

Excellence in Action: Automation Makes IV Medications Safer

A new software product in the Campbell County Memorial Hospital Pharmacy called DoseEdge is making intravenous (IV) medications safer for patients.

IV medications are introduced directly into a patient’s vein and work quickly. This makes them a very effective way to give antibiotics, chemotherapy agents and other medications. Because they work so quickly, IV medications have a greater potential for an adverse outcome, even with only small variances in their preparation. They are usually also clear fluids, along with the liquids they are mixed with.

Robert Quintana, RPh, Director of the CCMH Pharmacy“Pills have different shapes, colors and markings to help identify them,” said Robert Quintana, RPh, Pharmacy Director.

The DoseEdge software incorporates bar code scanning into the process of routing, preparing, inspecting, tracking and reporting on IV doses. It supplements the knowledge, judgement and expertise of the pharmacist and pharmacy technician in their preparation of IV mixtures, ultimately increasing patient safety.

The pharmacist can even verify the mixture from a remote desktop location because the software photographs the completed IV dose, saving the time it would take the technician to gown up and enter the sterile preparation room. Nurses benefit too, and can see when their IV medications will be completed and schedule the patient's treatment or administration accordingly.

“The new software improves on the human-based safeguards we already have in place,” says Quintana. “Bar coding reduces the variability of IV medication preparation even more. It’s a great improvement for our patients.”

The CCMH Pharmacy department is the first in Wyoming to implement this system. Robert Quintana fully expects that bar coding of IV preparations to become the standard of care for hospitals like CCMH, which dispenses over 44,000 doses of chemotherapy and IV medications annually.