Hanisha Modasia, London North West Hospital NHS Trust: Managing medication with automation during the COVID-19 pandemic
Hanisha Modasia is a Principal Pharmacy Technician and Christine Ward is a Chief Pharmacist. They both work at London Northwest Healthcare NHS Trust. Here they share their learnings around managing medication with automation during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“From the offset of the COVID-19 pandemic we saw a complete change in the demand for the range and type of medications that were required on all wards at Northwick Park Hospital. Where we had a shortage of medicines, it was essential that we had the ability to communicate any changes to alternative medicines as a result of these shortages.
Omnicell technology was instrumental in tracking real time stock levels across the hospital and in helping us establish the medication that needed to be ordered at any time where Omnicell medication dispensing cabinets were located in “red zones”. Without this information from the Omnicell system, pharmacy staff would have been required to don vital PPE supplies to check medication levels or rely on nurses to do it, diverting their valuable time from front line patient care.
Having the intelligence from the Omnicell cabinets meant that we knew at any given time our exact levels of medication on the wards, helping us to ensure the right medication was available where and when it was needed. The ability to be able to top up cabinets more frequently, including weekends, was also valuable in this endeavor.
As demand quickly increased, we were able to open up additional wards with medicines at very short notice by simply rolling in one of the Omnicell medication dispensing cabinets. We were also able to train new staff who were deployed to work in COVID 19 wards where Omnicell cabinets were in place. Intelligence from the Omnicell systems meant that we were able to forecast the demand for medication to prevent any unnecessary stock outs.
In addition to being able to react quickly, the biometric access to our Omnicell cabinets has supported our continued compliance with safe and secure handling standard operating procedures during the pandemic.
One of the biggest benefits we found was that by having Omnicell electronic controlled drugs systems in place we were able to order and manage controlled drugs while reducing the risk of cross contamination which can be caused by a paper-based system”.