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Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2001 May 1;58(9):779-83.

Impact of automation on pharmacist interventions and medication errors in a correctional health care system.

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  • 1College of Pharmacy, University of Houston, USA.


The implementation and impact of an automated check-and-sortation system in a correctional health care system are described. In February 1998 the Managed Health Care Division of the University of Houston College of Pharmacy submitted a proposal to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy for installing an automated check-and-sortation device in its distributive system serving Texas Department of Criminal Justice offenders. The new system would eliminate final visual verification of medication orders by pharmacists and thereby give them more time for in-depth reviews of patient profiles and for recommending clinical interventions. A vendor interested in developing a prototypic automated system was identified, and a disease management training course was developed to enable staff pharmacists to provide evidence-based pharmacotherapy recommendations. Twelve months of data before automation (February 1997 to January 1998) were compared with 16 months of postautomation data (June 1998 to September 1999). The number of clinical interventions increased from 396 per 100,000 medication orders filled before automation to 1075 per 100,000 orders after automation. Dispensing errors decreased from 6.3 to 4.1 per 100,000 medication orders filled. Identified filling errors increased from 224 to 256 per 100,000 orders. The reliability of the automated system was evidenced by a dispensing error rate of 0.6 per 100,000 orders. Implementation of an automated check-and-sortation device in a correctional health care system appeared to reduce dispensing errors and give pharmacists more time to review patient profiles and recommend clinical interventions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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