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Nurses vote new technology a hit

Wednesday, 09 July, 2014
Nurses vote new technology a hit

New technology that stores and dispenses medicines, including controlled drugs, is being used for the first time in the north east in A&E departments at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The equipment was originally earmarked for the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, but doctors and nurses trialling the automated storage cabinets have been so impressed by the efficiency and safety of the system that it is now beginning to be rolled out to wards and departments at North Tyneside and Wansbeck General Hospitals.

Fingerprint identification is used to gain entry to the cabinets and guiding lights direct the nurse to the medicines required.   This saves the nurses having to search through cupboards for the medicine.

The system not only allows enhanced medicines security but also helps to make sure that medicines are available when patients need them, rather than having to wait for pharmacy to dispense them.   It also means that nurses do not have to spend time searching for cupboard keys or recording controlled drug administration in the handwritten register.

When stocks become low the system automatically triggers an email alert to pharmacy that restocking is needed.   This task would normally be carried out by nurses but with the new system a pharmacy assistant will then replenish the cabinet freeing up nursing staff to focus on patient care.

Lauraine Gibson, A & E Matron at North Tyneside General Hospital said:

“The clinical team think the new system is a great idea, it frees up valuable time for nurses to focus on patient care.   The automated system provides the right medicine at the right time for patients so it is a safe efficient way to provide medication.”

Senior Clinical Pharmacist for Clinical Informatics, David Jones, has welcomed the enthusiasm of the A & E team.  He said;

“The automated storage system for medicines is an example of the new technology that will be used at the new hospital.   The six month trial has been a resounding success so plans are going ahead to install it in other wards and departments.   It makes sense that nurses and doctors have the latest technology that means they can focus on patient care. 

“Nursing staff in particular welcome the time to care for their patients as the pharmacy team restock the cabinet and the guiding lights identifying the dosage needed means there is less chance of error when taking medicines from the cabinet.”