It may sound scary or futuristic, however all around the world in more than a thousand pharmacies, automated pouch checking is implemented and fully adopted in the process of dispensing medication. There are various reasons to choose automated pouch checking instead and when you choose the right device, it does not only help by eliminating errors and increases the safety of your patients but also ensures that employees have extra time to deliver the pharmaceutical care your patients need. Below, Marcel van den Brink gives his five compelling reasons switch to automated inspection.
Checking pouches is repetitive work. Checking small and different pills over and over, for different patients on different hours and to do that for multiple weeks on end, it does not sound like the most exciting job. You can imagine that concentration will fade and fatigue will kick in. Research has shown us that the accuracy of humans checking items is repetitively 87%. Checking it 2 times raises the accuracy to 98.3%. And 3 times to 99.7%1. With the 4 eye principle, one must assume that 1.7% of all errors will slip through. This means that in every 1000 pouches which are dispensed and manually checked by the 4 eye principle, 17 pouches can contain errors that can be life-threatening.
Of all the pouches best in class checking machines approve, only 1.33 pouches per million have a risk if an error slipping through. The machine approves around 95% automatically. That means that only 5% of the pouches need to be visually checked, on a big screen where the suspected errors are already highlighted.
All human actions like the 5% visual check of automatically failed pouches are registered by labeling them with the identity of the responsible employee. This way all errors can be traced back to the source.
When using an inspection device, all pouches are photographed and stored in your database. When stored, the pictures are traceable, and when there is a question or complaint about a pouch you can go through the database and check for yourself. This way you have full control and know exactly what or if there was something wrong with a specific pouch.
An inspection device fits perfectly in the pouch dispensing process. Right after the medication is dispensed into pouches, the pouches can be fed into the checking machine. Besides that, the inspection device compiles data that can be used to optimize the entire pouch packaging process. Medication, canisters, or process steps can be the source of disruption. Analyzing the data of the checking machine will trace back to the source of the problem so it can be solved. The process of dispensing medication will change and your employees have their hands free to do other tasks in the pharmacy and taking extra care of your patients.
(1) Harish, J. (2015, October 11). 100% Visual Inspection – Being Human. Retrieved from https://harishsnotebook.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/100-visual-inspection-being-human/