When punch cards were first introduced, they were widely accepted because they replaced the use of pill bottles which were difficult for the industry to use. While a good option when first introduced, punch cards have had many negatives identified by those who use them and are looking for a better solution. Punch cards are
The desire to find a better way...
As time went on, caregivers and administrators wanted to find more efficient ways for their staff to give medications and reduce the risk for serious and sometimes fatal medication administration errors. This led to a marked improvement of new options for medication delivery in the health care setting.
The packaging of medications in what is referred to as “punch cards” has been employed by pharmacies for many years but developments in robotics and infrastructure technology have allowed pharmacies to provide far better options. The state of the art equipment developed for this purpose is expensive but the benefits far outweigh the pharmacy’s expense in making these options available for their customers.
Enter the world of med-pass packaging…
The ability to customize packaging to aid administration has brought an abundance of improvements for staff and caregivers:
· Reduction of waste and substantial cost savings
· Take up much less space than punch cards
· The med pass takes less time because the packets come from the pharmacy in the order that they will be given.
· Convenience: The entire med pass is prepared and sorted by the pharmacy before it is delivered.
· Many sorting and labeling options are available to match the customer’s needs, including the addition of bar codes.
· The risk for errors by staff is reduced dramatically. The staff is only required to open one or two packets per patient rather than up to six or eight punch cards (multiplied by 3 to 4 med passes per day)
· If an error is made it is more easily and more quickly identified because each packet is labeled with the date and time of day it should be given. Staff self audits for errors at every med pass every day for every patient simply because your med-pass is packaged in the order in which meds are to be given!.
· When the patient goes on an outing or LOA, there is no repackaging necessary. The medication packets can be given directly to the caregiver or family member for administration at the appropriate time.
· Since automation drives the entire packaging process there is very little human intervention, so there is a reduced risk for viral or bacterial contamination of the medications or their packaging.
· The contents of every packet are verified by the most advanced medication scanning equipment available in the world ensuring that the right meds are delivered to your patient.
· The pharmacy has an image of every packet they dispense and the images can be forwarded to supervisory staff when needed for QA or disciplinary processes.
· Nursing and direct care staff LOVE it! It makes their job so much easier! Managers and supervisors appreciate the reduced risk for serious administration errors and have the peace of mind knowing they have a system in place to help ensure success.