Nearly 6,800 prescription medications and over the counter drugs are available in the US. And each year, 7-9,000 people die due to errors made in the prescribing of these medications. This isn’t even considering the hundreds of thousands of patients who experience adverse reactions to improperly prescribed medications that don’t report.

And the repercussions of these errors in medication dispensing are broad spanning. As if patients dying isn’t enough of an indicator that this is a rampant problem, the cost of caring for patients who experience poor reactions to improperly prescribed meds exceed $40 billion a year. Naturally this also leads to patient dissatisfaction, readmissions, and wasted resources all of which result in financial penalizations to care facilities. 

So how do we begin to treat these issues? How does a medication dispensing system seek to combat these variables that endanger patients? And more importantly, if you want to create a medication dispensing system – one that works – how do you know you’re starting with the right medical computer systems?

What is Medication Dispensing?

Medication dispensing is the practice of preparing, prescribing, and dispensing prescription drugs to patients within the care facility.

The idea behind blending the pharmacy with the clinical environment is that, by making prescription of medication more on-site and at the point of care, physicians and nurses can catch issues more responsively and prevent or treat them before they have a chance to grow. 

Unfortunately, as we’ve discussed, a medication dispensing system can be rife with error if facilities aren’t careful. 

What Are the Most Common Medication Dispensing Errors?

A study posted in the National Library of Medicine combed through recorded cases of medication dispensing error ranging from 1990 all the way to the present day and were able to narrow down the cause of these errors to two major categories. 

Category 1: Errors that resulted from “prescribing faults” or errors in judgement made when gauging for potential harm a patient could experience if they partake in a certain medication. 

Category 2: Errors in prescription writing, communication, and information transcription.

And if we just look at Healthcare’s track record, this stands to scrutiny. For decades now the medical field has suffered from issues of communication and proper data transcription. We are still constantly bombarded by stories of EHR burnout and interoperability issues that cripple our ability to deliver timely and effective care.

Medical Computers Create Medication Dispensing Systems That Address These Issues

The right medical hardware manufacturer understands that the problems holding back medication dispensing systems, though often tied to the two categories mentioned by the NLM, can vary from facility to facility. And they seek to address this variability with solutions that can be customized to house different peripherals and mounting solutions tailored to each individual provider. Below are a few customizations that can make medical computers effortlessly fit into an effective medication dispensing system. 

VESA Mounts Open Up Bedside Medication Dispensing

Healthcare computers with VESA mount compatibility allow for the devices to be mounted not only on carts for a portable solution, but within individual patient rooms. This means that physicians and nurses can have a computer at the ready and bedside by every patient as the need for patient prescriptions becomes known. 

Having a computer at the ready within every room gives staff the ability to dispense medication at the point of care and also facilitate conversation with a patient in the room as these meds are prescribed. This also means physicians can confirm prescriptions with patients to find any discrepancies or possible allergies that were missed.   

RFID Scanning Eliminates the Possibility of Human Error

Computer on wheels and mounted PCs that are customized to include RFID scanners within the devices’ build can allow physicians to scan in crucial information into their EHR systems that can be essential in eliminating improperly prescribed medication. 

Patient wristbands, for example, that hold identifying information on said patient can be scanned and can confirm who is being treated, what they’re being treated for, and what allergies they have or what medications have given them adverse reactions in the past. All of this data can be made available to a care provider in an instant, with the swipe of an RFID tag. 

Being able to keep EHR’s up to date by simply scanning patients in and out of a system can go a long way towards eliminating the communication errors that plague medication dispensing systems. 

Barcode Scanning Promotes Inventory and Dosing Management

Jumping over to category 1 (issues of prescribing faults), barcode scanners that can also be custom-built into medical tablets and medical-grade computers allow pharmacists to keep a vigilant eye on medication inventory and available doses. 

If a patient requires a certain medication in a timely manner, a physician or nurse needs to know ASAP if the required dosages are available within their facility. Scanning in and out doses and medications as they are delivered and administered gives everyone with access to a medical workstation a bird’s eye view on what’s available to be prescribed. If something they need isn’t available, they can quickly pivot their treatments to adapt until proper resources are stocked.

Large Screens Support EMR Software

For all the good EMR’s provide, they also do a lot of harm. More often than not, these medical record software are massively complex, large pages of information with several different tabs for a single patient.  It’s been well documented that these bloated pages of information regularly cause communication errors among staff who can miss a crucial piece of information or populate incorrect fields with the wrong data. 

Combatting that, 4K medical displays are built to be high-def and boast a screen size that allows for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists to have several of these pages and tabs open at once. Without worrying about scrolling and missing key pieces of information, staff can receive a comprehensive view on a patient’s prescription history and allergies and improve their chances of making a better call when dispensing medication.

Tackle Common Pain Points When Building a Medication Dispensing System

Communication is key across several industries, healthcare and medication dispensing included. Building a medication dispensing system that’s actually effective means investing in solutions that have a chance at promoting better communication between staff members who coordinate prescriptions and med dispensation. For more information on the kind of hardware that can facilitate this communication, contact an expert from Cybernet today.