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A new electronic prescription delivery service allows you to fill take-home prescriptions from a dispensing machine in the surgery center. The machine resembles a large vending machine, with up to 90 medications. The medications are customized to individual facilities and their surgeons’ most common prescriptions, says Amy Glover, RN, BSN, CNOR, administrator of Indiana Surgery Center in Indianapolis.
Glover’s facility participated in a pilot test of the Point of Care System, manufactured by TSI in North Billerica, MA. After the surgeon wrote the prescription, the surgery center would scan the prescription or fax it to the pharmacy. "They verified whether it’s acceptable under [the patient’s] insurance plan and whether there’s a deductible or copay," she says. If so, the pharmacists notified the surgery center, which collected the payment.
The pharmacist gave the authorization for the nurses at the center to disperse the medication. The nurse took the medication and patient education materials, provided by the pharmacy, to the patient. "In Indiana, patients must be given the option of speaking to a pharmacist," Glover says. "If the patient wishes to confer with the pharmacist, we can bring in the videoconferencing monitor so the patients and pharmacists can have direct dialogue."
The wireless system allowed a monitor to move from one patient room to the next without having to be plugged in, she says.
The technology avoids drug errors by having the pharmacist check to ensure the prescription is compatible with the patient’s history on file. If the patient’s prescription wasn’t available through the delivery service or the patient needed refills, the pharmacy called another pharmacy of the patient’s choice.
Potential disadvantages include the fact that the center was limited to one pharmacy chain. Also, some states might not allow controlled substances to be dispensed by machines, Glover says.
The remote dispensing system had to be approved by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy and is a state-by-state determination. The pharmacy stocked the dispenser, as well as checking outdates and reordering the inventory. Facility administrators opted to discontinue the pilot test because the company wasn’t able to commit to providing the prescription service to all 40 locations in the network to which Glover’s facility belongs, she says.
"The concept is wonderful," Glover says. "Normally patients would stop somewhere on the way home. We felt we were providing a convenience of filling it before they left the center." In addition, the technology could provide revenue, she says. "We saw a larger percentage of our prescriptions were being filled on site vs. the pharmacy down the road," she adds.
For more information on the electronic prescription dispensing service, contact:
• Amy Glover, RN, BSN, CNOR, Administrator, Indiana Surgery Center, 8040 Clearvista Parkway, Indianapolis, IN 46256. Telephone: (317) 621-2070. Fax: (317) 621-2005. E-mail: email@example.com.
For more information on the Point of Care System, contact: