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The application of automated storage and retrieval systems to pharmacy operations?specifically integrated inventory management and control software and vertical carousel technology?offers hospitals central pharmacies and healthcare systems the advantages of improved workflow efficiency, optimal inventory management, and a reduction in the potential for human errors.
"Automation provides a new level of inventory control for pharmacies,best buy dre beats, and positions them for bedside bar code scanning," said Carla Corkern, Chief Executive Officer of Talyst, a leading pharmacy automation company.
With uncertainty surrounding the effects of new health care legislation on compensation for providers, and with shrinking capital budgets, justifying the implementation costs of an automated system is the critical first step in realizing improvements in pharmacy operations and patient care. In pharmacy automation applications, automated storage and  solo beats by dre cheap retrieval systems should be considered as a system,dr beats headphones?hardware and software working together in a logical and intuitive manner to  beats from dr dre provide bar code security at the point of care while improving work flow efficiency. Both hardware and software have individual benefits that total more than the sum of the parts, so it is important to understand what each brings to the application.
Making Space More Productive
Vertical storage and retrieval systems, such as Sapient PickaMed? Vertical Carousel, are enclosed storage devices designed with rotating shelves that move up or down in response to operator commands. Stored items are delivered to an ergonomically positioned window for easy removal. Vertical carousels take advantage of unused overhead  buy monster beats online space to recover 60% to 85% of the floor space typically required by shelving and drawer systems, and often decrease total pharmacy storage space by 30% to 50%.
The floor space recovered with the installation of vertical storage and retrieval systems can often be re-allocated from cost-associated functions of inventory to value-increasing operations. Improved space utilization can also extend the useful life of existing facilities, eliminating the need for expensive square footage expansion to meet growth requirements or to provide space for drug compounding or other compliant operations.
Because of their vertical design,2013 beats by dre, these systems can be used to link multiple operations located on different floors,beats by dr dre wireless review, further reducing the amount of space required for storage and retrieval activities while improving workflow.
Improving Staff Efficiency
Conventional static storage systems like shelving require technicians to spend up to 70% of their time traveling aisles searching for items. Vertical automated storage and retrieval systems deliver items automatically to the operator, eliminating wasted walk and search time, reducing time-on-task and the number of staff necessary to fill orders. The access area of vertical systems is ergonomically designed to present stored items at an ideal height for picking, usually about waist high. Typically, a technician's walk and search time is reversed from that of conventional systems to 70% picking and only 30% dwell time. In many applications, this reversal of walk and search time can reduce labor requirements by up to 66%. Even with a smaller workforce, productivity can increase by more than 2.5 times, on average, in typical pharmacy applications.
Vertical carousels also offer increased picking speed and accuracy when compared with rack and shelving systems. With the addition of position indicators, information displays, bar code scanning devices, stocking and picking accuracy can improve to 99.99% while throughput can improve up to 500%. Redundant or non-essential handling can be reduced with vertical systems. Throughput improves, and the time saved results in less operating cost and improved patient care.
Since vertical systems are totally enclosed and lockable, they protect products from external hazards and reduce product damage and pilfering. Because of this, inventories can often be reduced. Access to vertical storage and retrieval systems can be controlled and tracked making it easy to keep specific items or groups of items secure from unauthorized personnel.
Better Inventory Control, More Cost Effective Patient Care
In these integrated systems,beats by dr, dedicated pharmacy inventory management and control software, such as AutoPharm3 from Talyst, gives pharmacies the ability to easily store,monster beats dre, track and dispense medications, and enables barcode-driven pharmacist checks for improved patient safety and easier, more accurate recordkeeping and accountability. These systems can be integrated with ERP Hospital Information System (HIS) or Pharmacy Information System (PhIS) software to provide precise inventory management. More detailed and precise inventory management adds efficiency and security to pharmaceutical dispensing operations by:
* Automatically tracking and documenting storage and retrieval activities.
* Comparing inventory stock levels to par levels to facilitate accurate and timely restocks.
* Automating receiving and put-away functions.
* Recognizing priority orders with movement to the head of the line.
* Automation of wholesale ordering to eliminate the need to walk the shelves.
* Improved response time and accuracy for STAT and first dose orders.
* Recalling medications and tracking lot numbers and expiration dates.
* Reducing the time required for ADU replenishment and cart fills.
Realizing Rapid ROI
"One major benefit of this approach to inventory management is that it helps better manage drug shortages," Ms. Corkern said. In 2010, many hospitals and health care organizations  cheapest dr dre beats reported that  where to buy beats by dre they did not have enough of certain medications on hand, including a number of generic varieties, to meet the needs of patients with severe health issues. In some cases, treatments were delayed. "Annually, drug shortages cost hospitals at least $200 million due to purchasing more expensive substitutes," she said.
"Using AutoPharm3 software, hospital pharmacies can set up a perpetual inventory tracking system that keeps technicians informed in real time of inventory status, not just in the main pharmacy, but in remote stock locations as well." Tighter inventory control allows pharmacists to better project medication demand and be better prepared for drug shortages.
Another benefit is the reduction in inventory, and the resulting reduction in carrying costs, that these automated systems are capable of delivering. "At Eastern Maine Medical Center, a 411-bed facility in Bangor, Maine, the installation of vertical carousels and inventory management and control software reduced the costs of inventory, expired medications and dispensing errors to such a degree that the system was essentially paid for when it went on line," said Ms. Corkern.
This one-time inventory cost reduction also helped University of Virginia Health Systems justify the cost of the automated system almost immediately, Ms. Corkern said. "This operation was able to reduce staff hours dedicated to ordering, picking and dispensing tasks."
Reliability is an important consideration in balancing cost savings with installation costs when selecting a pharmacy automation system. Systems available from Talyst offer 24/7 real time monitoring of critical system thresholds, actual carousel usage, picks, run time, and energy consumption levels in order to detect variances and anomalies which could lead to failure or performance issues. The moment anything out of the ordinary is detected, a message is sent to a local technician and to a central service monitoring group for immediate response. Talyst also offers a 10-year warranty on the system.
Pharmacy automation systems can have a significant impact on medication storage and dispensing operations, and in the process can be the foundation  monster dr dre for more efficient patient care. In today's unsettled health care market, more efficient care can go a long way to boosting bottom line performance.
About the Author
Sapient Automation, a subsidiary of MDCI, is a leading provider of automated storage and retrieval systems for manufacturing, distribution, warehouses, institutions, retail and wholesale including Viper Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs), PickaMed Vertical Carousels, Hornet Horizontal Carousels, Shark Inventory Management Software, Spitfire Pick Carts and more. For information about the space, ergonomics and labor savings improvements of the PickaMed Vertical Carousel, call 888-451-9711 or visit the Sapient Automation web site at www.GetSapient.com

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