McKesson Automates Hospital Dispensing of Unit-Dose Blisters

McKesson has launched the PROmanager-Rx system for hospital pharmacy dispensing of product pre-packaged by manufacturers in unit-dose bar-coded format.

Unveiled this week at the 44th Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists in Las Vegas, the bar code-based robotic solution automates stocking, picking, and order verification at the pharmacy, eliminating the need for manual repackaging and verification.
“PROmanager-Rx is the first automated system that can directly dispense a manufacturer’s package with no additional packaging or labeling required by pharmacists or technicians,” says Jim Longo, senior product manager, McKesson Automation.
“We are bar-code scanning every dose to reduce medication picking errors, and improving efficiency by using the manufacturer’s packaging and automatically confirming the output,” Longo says.
“The system is incapable of restocking or dispensing the wrong medication because it is reading the bar code at each step,” he adds.
Pre-packaged product received at the pharmacy is loaded into trays, bar code up. The system scans the codes and automatically stocks the product to carousel storage.
For accessing approved orders, ProManager-Rx interfaces with the hospital order entry system via McKesson’s Connect -Rx software platform. Orders are already associated with the patient in the system when patient cassettes are conveyed to the filling position. The system scans each dose associated with the patient, in picking product to the cassette for delivery to the nursing floor.
Stocking, picking, and repackaging at the pick station by technicians is avoided, and pharmacists don’t have to validate the package output. “After very minimal effort by technicians, orders are verified by the pharmacist automatically,” Longo says.
ProManager-Rx connects with McKesson distribution through the McKesson Rx Ful-Fill inventory management system. The ProManager-Rx software learns dispensing volumes and automatically optimizes inventory levels and storage locations.
The unit was beta tested at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, OH.
“At the Riverside installation, five to six hours of pharmacists’ time was saved per packaging run. Pharmacists could be redeployed for other clinical activities, and were freed for more involvement with patients and physicians on the nursing floor,” says Emilie Ray, director of technical product management, McKesson Automation.
The solution holds 12,000 doses in a compact storage and dispensing unit of 3 by 9 feet.
“PROmanager-Rx is much more compact than existing robotic systems, doesn’t require compressed air, and runs on 120 volt power. This provides an automatic dispensing solution for hospitals that would otherwise never look at one due to the physical requirements,” says Longo.
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