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    Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation
    701 Queen Street
    Saskatoon, SK, S7K 0M7


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Equip for Excellence

Pharmacy Department needs dispensing system

Pharmacy Department needs dispensing system

Every year, Saskatoon City Hospital’s Pharmacy Department processes more than a million doses for the hospital and affiliated health agencies in the Saskatoon area. That’s a million times every year when patients are taking medication prepared at the hospital. A million times a year when it’s crucial that the right medication and dosage is administered.

You can ensure that those medications are safely stored and dispensed. The Pharmacy Department has requested $2.5 million to replace aging equipment in the intravenous (IV) storage room and to install a new medication dispensing system throughout the hospital.

“The most pressing, immediate need is replacement of a pass-through fridge and two double-door fridges in the IV room,” reports Patrick Robertson, executive director, Provincial Programs – Pharmacy Services in the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Saskatoon area. “Those fridges are well beyond their lifespan and repair.”

The fridges are essential to ensure IV antibiotics and other fluids remain usable. New equipment will improve storage, energy efficiency and has added features such as bacteria-resistant surfaces.

An added layer of verification and safety, Pharmacy has requested a FastPak Verify which works seamlessly with the pharmacy’s existing FastPakk medication dispensing system. By analyzing the size, shape, quantity and markings of dispensed medications, the system alerts pharmacy staff if there are filling discrepancies or errors.

The largest part of the funding request from the department is an automated dispensing system for the hospital, Robertson says. “When complete the system will be installed in about a dozen patient care areas, including OR suites, recovery rooms, Emergency, and outpatient units for provision of narcotics, usual first doses and wardstock medications.” 

Robertson says staff prefers a system called Pyxis. “These automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) are computerized drug storage devices that allow medications to be stored and dispensed near the point of care, while controlling and tracking drug distribution.”

Tracking is crucial to promoting patient safety – it improves precision and accuracy of user access with biometric identification. “For example, a patient may be admitted into emergency and given a dose of morphine for pain. The system would automatically track that and if the patient was admitted to a ward or sent to surgery, the system there would automatically be updated. Staff elsewhere in the hospital would know what dosage the patient received and when.”

Robertson says Pyxis decreases the time for patients to receive initial medication, process routine orders, or dispense medication in emergency situations. This creates cost efficiencies while freeing pharmacists and nurses to do more direct work with patients.

“This is being widely used across North America and will become the standard method of dispensing throughout the hospital and in Saskatoon,” Robertson says. Pyxis is currently in use at the Dubé Centre, St. Paul’s and RUH emergency. More units will be added including 24 at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

To support this initiative, visit SCHFdonate.com, call 306-655-8489 or drop by the Foundation office in the hospital.