Carousel technology is able to greatly improve medication safety and efficiency of pharmacy inventory management by automating the storage, distribution and ordering of medication. Despite the advantages of pharmacy carousels, the transition to a fully automated system takes effort and planning.
Here is some advice for implementing carousels in your hospital, based on the article 8 Tips to Smooth the Transition to Carousel Technology by David Jaspan and Ryan Caldwell.
- Avoid competing projects. In order to provide the support needed during the installation process, it’s best to make the implementation of carousel technology your main focus. When other major technology changes are taking place simultaneously in your hospital, it can be difficult to prioritize and get the attention and resources you may need from IT and other groups.
- Devise a training system. To prevent any hiccups after the implementation is complete, train your staff early in the process, especially super users who can then provide support to others. By creating a competency checklist, you will be able to ensure that everyone is properly trained in the tasks specific to their roles, and are aware of the carousel’s safety features.
- Collaborate with facilities management and IT. If your hospital does not have the option of adding carousel technology during the design of a new pharmacy space, it’s essential to work closely with the facilities and IT teams. Because building a carousel into a current facility often requires renovation, the help of supporting departments will ensure the transition is a smooth one.
- Expect some glitches. With new technology comes new challenges, and carousels are no exception. Be prepared for issues that may arise during installation and implementation, and report any glitches to the vendors. By communicating effectively and taking action promptly, errors can be corrected sooner.
- Plan for shifts in workflow. The transition from manual methods to an automated system is sure to cause a bit of upheaval in the workflow of a central pharmacy. To make the adjustment period easier, use flowcharting to determine how specific tasks will be affected by carousel technology and to maximize the efficiency the technology offers.
- Create a contact list. As with any large-scale project, clear lines of communication between every individual and team working on the carousel technology installation can sometimes be challenging. Have a contact list of all vendors and hospital staff involved to facilitate communication.
- Learn the technology. Even with automation technology designed to prevent human error, mistakes will still happen. By knowing how the technology works, errors can be discovered and resolved at a faster rate.
- Make the most of the technology. Pharmacy carousels offer a number of benefits from improved inventory management to reducing the risks of medication errors. Learning about the various capabilities of the software used to run the carousel can help you gain the most potential from the technology.
Have you recently installed carousels in your pharmacy? If you have additional tips for a smooth implementation, feel free to share them below.