In all large hospitals, a major challenge is ensuring that all medication is dispensed quickly and accurately to all wards and departments across the site. To achieve this St Georges have introduced ward based pharmacy technicians who can use a revolutionary wireless printing solution to achieve improved patient benefits and significant cost savings.
The new wireless label printing system, comprising Episys labels and Toshiba TEC portable SP2 802.11b printers, has been developed on site at St. Georges Healthcare NHS Trust. Following the initial pilot and after the detailed analysis of the initial results, it has now been approved to be deployed throughout the Trust.
The results of a pilot scheme involving four ward-based pharmacy technicians proved that the quality of pharmacy service provided to patients was greatly improved and medicine wastage was drastically reduced. Stock is more efficiently managed, and through the re-use of previously dispensed medicines, a saving of 14.65% in the ward medicines budget has been achieved.
It enables ward-based pharmacy staff to provide a prompt and well run service, being on hand to take a patients medication history and then dispense take-home medication on the wards. This contributes to reducing a patients length of stay, reduces the time taken to dispense the medication as it can be done on the spot rather than taking trips to the pharmacy department, and greatly reduces wastage as medicines can be relabelled with the correct To-Take-Out (TTO) medicine information.
St. Georges have been the first Trust in the country to introduce such a system, for which they have received a national innovation award. Steve Beale, Pharmacy IT Manager at St. Georges comments, It would be too expensive to have labels and permanent printers on every ward, but then I saw a demonstration of mobile printing at an Episys event and realised that this could be a cost effective solution to the problem.
The Toshiba TEC SP2D printers, which were supplied by Episys, are portable and are carried around by the pharmacist. When a label is required the pharmacist can access the JAC system from the wards PC and produce the label without the need to walk back to the pharmacy. This delivers a large time saving, releases hospital beds earlier, and achieves major savings on the wards medicine bills. Steve commented about the Toshiba TEC hardware, As well as the savings in time, the quality and reliability of the Toshiba TEC hardware provides additional benefits of low-cost of ownership. The printer is robust and rugged and with WiFi and Cisco compatibility, we have a future-proofed product that meets our exact requirements.
Episys and Toshiba TEC provide support every step of the way, adds Steve. This project allows us to bring the printing to the point of need and deliver not only increased service levels and significant cost savings, but also enhanced job satisfaction for staff.