Smart medicine cabinets in pilot use at the Helsinki Meilahti hospital Intensive Care Unit 20 of the Meilahti hospital is currently testing a smart medicine cabinet supplied by NewIcon. The test period will continue from March to June. The testing is related to the forthcoming smart medicine cabinet procurement by HUS Pharmacy. According to Nurse Manager Anneli Övermark, the initial experiences have been encouraging. – The cabinet is very easy to use. The commissioning and training the personnel were surprisingly smooth, and none of our nurses have complained. At first, I thought that the cabinet might become crowded, but my worries were unfounded. We have a very technological environment and our personnel are used to changes. I wondered if there would be change fatigue when the medicine cabinet arrived, but none of that occurred, either. The timing of testing the smart medicine cabinet was perfect, as the renovation of the A side of the ward took place at the same time. The facilities could now be planned and realised with automation in mind. The team charting the possibilities of medicine automation for HUS, which Övermark was a member of, recommended adding automation at the hospital for several reasons. – Of course, patient safety is the most important thing for us, and the introduction of the smart medicine cabinet will reinforce it. The possibility of human errors in medical care will decrease, as the cabinet directs the user towards the right medicine, among other things. Unclear situations and misconducts, rare yet possible as they are, can also be cleared up better, as it is exactly known who has used the cabinet and touched which medicine. Övermark hopes that the network of smart medicine cabinets can be quickly extended to cover the entire hospital. Thus, rare medicines could be available only in some wards and accessed quickly from a joint database, for example. Even though the investment always creates expenses, it also creates long-term savings as time management becomes more efficient and waste is eliminated. – With the smart medicine cabinet, medicine waste will be practically eliminated in the wards, as a ward will only pay for the medicines it uses. The pharmacy will be kept up to date on the use of the medicines. The smart medicine cabinet also orders more medicine ‘by itself’, in accordance with an agreed upon protocol and alarm limits. Savings will also be created from nurses and pharmacists using their time more efficiently, says Övermark. Pharmacists can focus on matters, such as preparing medicines for use, instructing the nursing personnel and quality assurance. Smart medicine cabinets are also currently being tested at the testing laboratory of the Oulu University Hospital. The pilot will also be introduced at the Mikkeli Central Hospital and the Kainuu Central Hospital.
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