Each month, around 260,000 doses of medicine come out of the pharmacy at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. That's hundreds of thousands of physician orders that have to be sorted, processed and distributed throughout the 700-plus bed hospital with zero room for error.
"We've seen some scary events around the country where wrong doses get put into the pockets and some patients are actually harmed by that. So it's critical to us to make sure the right drug gets in there," said Pharmacy Director Michael Mohundro.
To make sure this process is safe and efficient, the Lake Pharmacy has turned to a new technology system called Pyxis ES. It's a combination of hardware and software, that create better communication and a quicker turnaround time.
"In the old days, when we'd have to deliver everything manually from downstairs, you'd have a lot steps that were involved that would lead to hours of delay. This, having them in Pyxis gets rid of that delay. We can turn around an order in about five minutes from when we receive it," said Mohundro.
It's also adds safety and security. Each order is reviewed and checked against electronic medical records, and then scanned by staff and nurses several times before it is given to the patient. The pharmacy can even track medicine in the hospital much like UPS tracks packages.
There are also updated automated medicines dispensing cabinets located on each floor. These high tech medical vending machines give doctors and nurses direct access to needed medicines. The cabinets also have a fingerprint scanning system, and special drawers to make sure only the correct medicine is added or removed.
All of these things are connected to the same universal software so every order, vial and pill is accounted for.
"It allows us to look at our whole system, analyze it and continue to improve the safety," said Mohundro.
Ochsner Hospital and Baton Rouge General Hospital both use similar systems in their hospitals, which allow for efficient and safe distribution of medicines.