Cape Regional Doubles Down on Medication Dispensing Robotics

Cape Regional pharmacy leaders partnered with nursing, finance, and hospital administration to lead a detailed assessment of their medication distribution model. Their analysis led them to adopt next-generation central pharmacy robotic technology.

The Challenge

Nurses at Cape Regional Medical Center are vocal supporters of the hospital’s medication distribution model. For more than a decade, nurses have gathered PRNs and controlled medications from unit-based automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs), while retrieving daily medications delivered by pharmacy to wall cabinets inside patient rooms, thus avoiding lines at ADCs and making medication passes more efficient.

In recent years, pharmacy leaders knew that the technology solutions at the heart of their distribution model for nearly 20 years were reaching their upper limits and were in need of an upgrade.

To prepare for this change, pharmacy leadership partnered with nursing, finance, and hospital administration to lead a detailed assessment. The group weighed a combination of medication distribution model options. The consensus “must haves” included:

  • Enhance medication safety (minimize human touches)
  • Support nursing’s patient care model
  • Maximize pharmacist clinical time
  • Introduce labor certainty
  • Reduce drug spend

Nurses at Cape Regional Medical Center are vocal supporters of the hospital’s medication distribution model. For more than a decade, nurses have gathered PRNs and controlled medications from unit-based automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs), while retrieving daily medications delivered by pharmacy to wall cabinets inside patient rooms, thus avoiding lines at ADCs and making medication passes more efficient.

In recent years, pharmacy leaders knew that the technology solutions at the heart of their distribution model for nearly 20 years were reaching their upper limits and were in need of an upgrade.

To prepare for this change, pharmacy leadership partnered with nursing, finance, and hospital administration to lead a detailed assessment. The group weighed a combination of medication distribution model options. The consensus “must haves” included:

  • Enhance medication safety (minimize human touches)
  • Support nursing’s patient care model
  • Maximize pharmacist clinical time
  • Introduce labor certainty
  • Reduce drug spend

The Solution

Activated Solutions 

XR2 Automated Central Pharmacy System

Pharmacy Carousel

The leadership team chose the Omnicell XR2 Automated Central Pharmacy System and a Pharmacy Carousel. The XR2 system:

  • Enables 100 percent barcode scanning, eliminating human error
  • Supports both cart fill and cartless medication distribution
  • Leverages manufacturer unit-dose bar codes, reducing reliance on repackaging
  • Uses advanced algorithms to reduce waste and maintain accurate inventory

The XR2 system automates storage, retrieval, and inventory management for more than 90 percent of non-IV and non-narcotic formulary in a variety of form factors, including individual blisters, blister cards, vials, cups, packets, syringes, and others.

The XR2 met Cape Regional’s core project objectives by:

  • Reducing overall medication repackaging by more than 90%
  • Aligning on Central Pharmacy Manager software and OmniCenter platform
  • Optimizing pharmacists' 5% medication checking of robotic-dispensed doses
  • Automating more medications due to greater storage capacity

Activated Solutions 

XR2 Automated Central Pharmacy System

Pharmacy Carousel

The leadership team chose the Omnicell XR2 Automated Central Pharmacy System and a Pharmacy Carousel. The XR2 system:

  • Enables 100 percent barcode scanning, eliminating human error
  • Supports both cart fill and cartless medication distribution
  • Leverages manufacturer unit-dose bar codes, reducing reliance on repackaging
  • Uses advanced algorithms to reduce waste and maintain accurate inventory

The XR2 system automates storage, retrieval, and inventory management for more than 90 percent of non-IV and non-narcotic formulary in a variety of form factors, including individual blisters, blister cards, vials, cups, packets, syringes, and others.

The XR2 met Cape Regional’s core project objectives by:

  • Reducing overall medication repackaging by more than 90%
  • Aligning on Central Pharmacy Manager software and OmniCenter platform
  • Optimizing pharmacists' 5% medication checking of robotic-dispensed doses
  • Automating more medications due to greater storage capacity

Implementation Designed to Minimize Disruption

To minimize disruption, pharmacy leaders followed an aggressive timeline. The new XR2 system and carousel were installed in the same space as the previous robotic and carousel systems. Uninterrupted medication distribution was achieved by flexing old and new technologies, augmented by existing staff performing some manual processes.

Soon, the XR2 was dispensing 2,500 non-IV cart fill and first doses per day in patient-specific sealed bags with oversight from a single technician who also manages carousel processes. A floater technician aids in restocking.

The XR2 also has begun filling for XT Automated Medication Dispensing Cabinets on a limited basis.

To minimize disruption, pharmacy leaders followed an aggressive timeline. The new XR2 system and carousel were installed in the same space as the previous robotic and carousel systems. Uninterrupted medication distribution was achieved by flexing old and new technologies, augmented by existing staff performing some manual processes.

Soon, the XR2 was dispensing 2,500 non-IV cart fill and first doses per day in patient-specific sealed bags with oversight from a single technician who also manages carousel processes. A floater technician aids in restocking.

The XR2 also has begun filling for XT Automated Medication Dispensing Cabinets on a limited basis.

The Impact

Key Outcomes:

  • Reduced repacking by 90%
  • Maintained pharmacist checking at 5%
  • Consolidated all pharmacy automation systems on the OmniCenter platform

Customer Benefits:

    • Enhanced medication safety (minimize human touches)
    • Supported nursing’s patient care model 
    • Maximized pharmacist clinical time 
    • Introduced labor certainty 

    "First and foremost, with XR2 we gained an important safety feature by significantly reducing repacking touches by techs and pharmacists. Ordering direct from the manufacturer in unit dose form eliminates a huge hole in the Swiss cheese for potential medication errors. That’s a big advantage. "

    "With the XR2 cart fill model, we’re better able to predict technician labor costs for the next 10 years than if we had gone with a different medication distribution model that requires more labor."

    Richard J. Artymowicz, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy Services and Administrative Director of Sleep and Wound Services

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