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Am J Hosp Pharm. 1994 Aug 1;51(15):1883-91.

Comparison of automated medication-management systems.

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Department of Pharmacy Services, Methodist Hospitals of Memphis, TN.


Automated devices for managing medication distribution are described. Shrinking operating budgets are causing many departments of pharmacy to consider automation to maximize the cost-effective use of professional personnel. Many devices and systems that are currently available or under development can help with (1) distribution of medication to and from the patient care area, (2) distribution of medication directly to the patient, (3) inventory control, (4) management of controlled substances, or (5) documentation of medication administration. Medication-management devices based in the patient care unit (Lionville CDModule, Access, Meditrol, Argus, MedStation, Sure-Med, and SelecTrac-Rx) are designed to replace manual filling of unit dose carts or to increase control over floor-stock medications and controlled substances. They provide immediate access to medications but can take extra time to fill. Centrally located medication-management systems (Automated Pharmacy Station, ATC-212, and Medispense) are designed to replace or improve a manual system for filling unit dose carts. They may have financial and practical advantages over systems based in the patient care unit because they avoid redundant inventories. However, a manual system is still needed for some medications, particularly those that need refrigeration. Several point-of-care information systems also have medication-management components (MedTake, CliniCare, Automated Medication Administration Tracking, and MedLynk). They provide rapid access to patient information and facilitate documentation. Many incorporate bar-code technology and radio-frequency transmission of data. An automated management system can combine increased efficiency with decreased risk of error. Descriptions of available systems may help pharmacists choose a system that meets their needs.

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