New State-of-the-Art Inpatient Pharmacy Ensures Increased Patient Safety (Video)

Baystate Medical Center’s inpatient pharmacy has a new look. The inpatient pharmacy services all patients who are either checked in to the hospital for a procedure or an extended stay.

“The inpatient pharmacy dispenses medication to the hospital’s emergency department, 39 operating rooms, critical care department, pediatrics, general medicine, as well as day stay infusion patients who receive treatments like chemotherapy,” said Aaron Michelucci, senior director of pharmacy at Baystate Medical Center. “With such a big job on our hands it was time for an upgrade.”

The state-of-the–art facility is located in the hospital’s new South Wing, which officially opened its doors on February 6th. The new location was part of the overall Hospital of the Future expansion project.

“The old pharmacy was 3,000 total square feet for all of the clinical and administration areas. Now the new space is more than triple that at 12,000 square feet,” said Michelucci. “There was shell space left over from the original plan. After some extensive research we found this would be the perfect area for the new inpatient pharmacy,” he added.

New High-Tech Features

Working with shell space, the team really had a blank slate to work. This gave the team endless options when it came to design.

“We started the upgrade process doing several site visits to identify aspect of other pharmacies that we liked and thought we could use,” said Michelucci. “We gathered best practices in regulations, patient safety and security then pulled them together to design a pharmacy that we thought flowed well met the needs of the hospital,” he added

The team focused on three key areas during the upgrade.

Sterile Compounding

New Pharmacy

The compounding areas are where the medications are made.

“The sterile compounding area, composed of two separate clean rooms is where our team prepares all of our sterile IV medications,” said Sean Illig, pharmacy operations manager at Baystate Medical Center. “The hazardous clean room prepares chemotherapy treatments, while the non-hazardous clean room makes other intravenous medications such as IV antibiotics and customized IV fluids,” he added.

In 2012, there was a tragedy in compounding in a pharmacy in the eastern part of the state. Several people died in multiple states after it was found that compounding regulations were not adhered to. This incident really shook up the industry highlighting the importance of complying with the laws and regulations. 

Today there are significant laws, regulations and code enforcements that are now in place to prevent incidents like this from happening again. The new pharmacy was designed to meet the strictest regulations on sterile compounding on both hazardous medications like chemotherapy and non-hazardous preparations. Thanks to a new piece of technology, catching errors and preventing tragedies like the one in 2012 are easier than ever before.

“Within the clean room space, pharmacists use the IV workflow technology ”Dose Edge,” said Illig. “This new program allows our pharmacists to validate accurate dose preparations by pharmacy technicians. This is done through a series of steps including utilization of standardize recipes, bar code verification and photographic documentation to ensure the highest quality and safety of patient care,” he added.

Oral Compounding

New Pharmacy Facilities

Another new feature is an area specifically designated for oral compounding. This area is used to make oral suspensions, weigh out powders, and create dilutions for solutions and other things that may not be commercially available. This new area now gives technicians the ability to prepare necessary compounds safely here at BMC.

“In our old space we did not have an area for oral compounding. Now, we have an area that really suits our present needs and allows us to grow,” said Illig. “This is especially helpful with pediatric patients who may be unable to swallow tablets and need different concentrations that adults. Within the new space, our team has expanded our role in extensive compounding as well as implementing the ability to dispense many oral liquids in a ready to administer unit dose form,” he added.

Completing the oral compounding in-house also saves the hospital and patients money.

Carousel and Barcode Technology

The new facility also utilizes barcode and carousel technology to dispense oral and injectable medications. The carousel technology is an electronic inventory management system. It’s integrated with the other technology, including medical records, order verification and inventory.

“The three carousels are a very crucial step in inventory control, 95% of our inventory is stored in these and we know what we have at any given moment any day,” said Illig.

The new system not only brings significant workflow improvements but also major safety enhancements.

Improvements in Patient Safety

The new facility and all of the newly integrated technology helps the pharmacy team support a fast turnaround on medication orders and offer the ultimate standard in safety and quality patient care.

“There is always potential for systems to break down, so it’s important to have processes like barcode scanning and Dose Edge technology in place to help eliminate the chance of error,” said Illig. “Now we can be more confident we are providing the right medication to the right patient at the right time,” he added.

 Take a video tour and check out the new upgraded features.