Maury Regional increases security, efficiency, and user satisfaction with XT Automated Dispensing Cabinets

By implementing the Controlled Substance Dispenser as part of an overall controlled substance program, pharmacy leaders shifted the time burden off nursing, giving them more time for patient care.

The Challenge

Maury Regional Health System is Tennessee’s largest medical center located between Nashville and Huntsville, Alabama. It consists of three hospitals, including the flagship hospital Maury Regional Medical Center with 255 licensed beds, as well as multiple ambulatory care clinics and a surgery center.   

Soon after unifying the health system on a single Cerner electronic health record (EHR) system, pharmacy leaders were faced with another major technology decision: their automated medication dispensing cabinets had reached the end of their 10-year-plus useful life and needed to be replaced. 

Automated dispensing systems are integral to Maury Regional Medical Center’s medication-use process. More than 80 percent of patient medications are stored in unit-based cabinets. 

Acting swiftly yet methodically, pharmacy leaders convened a multi-disciplinary committee, including nursing, IT, anesthesia, and others, to explore available cabinet options. Among the group’s technology must-haves:  

  • Greater medication storage capacity 
  • Advanced workflow features for nursing   
  • Increased security of controlled substances   
  • Improved controlled substance accountability with new reports 
  • Integration with Cerner EHR 

Maury Regional Health System is Tennessee’s largest medical center located between Nashville and Huntsville, Alabama. It consists of three hospitals, including the flagship hospital Maury Regional Medical Center with 255 licensed beds, as well as multiple ambulatory care clinics and a surgery center.   

Soon after unifying the health system on a single Cerner electronic health record (EHR) system, pharmacy leaders were faced with another major technology decision: their automated medication dispensing cabinets had reached the end of their 10-year-plus useful life and needed to be replaced. 

Automated dispensing systems are integral to Maury Regional Medical Center’s medication-use process. More than 80 percent of patient medications are stored in unit-based cabinets. 

Acting swiftly yet methodically, pharmacy leaders convened a multi-disciplinary committee, including nursing, IT, anesthesia, and others, to explore available cabinet options. Among the group’s technology must-haves:  

  • Greater medication storage capacity 
  • Advanced workflow features for nursing   
  • Increased security of controlled substances   
  • Improved controlled substance accountability with new reports 
  • Integration with Cerner EHR 

The Solution

Activated Solutions 

XT Automated Medication Dispensing Cabinet System
XT Controlled Substance Dispenser
XT Controlled Substance Manager

Despite a particularly challenging timeframe—completing the cabinet transition in less than two months—the hospital experienced immediate benefits from the advanced technology: improved storage capacity, increased security, and enhanced workflow. 

Activated Solutions 

XT Automated Medication Dispensing Cabinet System
XT Controlled Substance Dispenser
XT Controlled Substance Manager

Despite a particularly challenging timeframe—completing the cabinet transition in less than two months—the hospital experienced immediate benefits from the advanced technology: improved storage capacity, increased security, and enhanced workflow. 

Nurses Embrace Greater Capacity, Security, and Ease of Use  

With a larger touchscreen operation, bright Guiding Light technology, and improved cabinet organization, the XT cabinets were quickly adopted by nurses. “I attribute that to our strong nursing education department,” said Health System Administrative Director of Pharmacy Jeff Binkley. “They are embedded in the various areas and serve as an ongoing resource.” 

Pharmacy took advantage of the greater medication storage capacity to add more line items, larger items, and—together with improved reporting—to optimize par levels more efficiently. The result is more medications readily available for patients, fewer stockouts, and fewer nursing and pharmacy disruptions. 

The improved security and operational efficiency enabled by the automated Controlled Substance Dispenser benefit both nursing and pharmacy as well. The system stores medications in a secured area inside the cabinet and dispenses specified unit doses into a special drawer for easy nurse access. The process eliminates the need for nurse countbacks and the time it takes to resolve discrepancies. 

“The Controlled Substance Dispenser system and workflow basically shift the time burden off nursing, so nurses have more time for patient care,” explained Michael Barton, Director of Pharmacy at Maury Regional Medical Center.  

The Controlled Substance Manager improves management of controlled substances throughout the hospital. By integrating with XT cabinets, it provides perpetual controlled substance inventory management and an automated audit trail. 

Future Plans: Leveraging Interoperability and Automating Anesthesia Workflow   

Pharmacy leaders continue to hone their team’s skills with the current systems, and look to more fully leverage the benefits of Omnicell-Cerner EHR interoperability while also extending automation into anesthesia practice areas. 

“There are always improvements to be made,” said Binkley. “We are continuously learning and advancing. And I feel that we are doing it with the system that is best in class.” 

With a larger touchscreen operation, bright Guiding Light technology, and improved cabinet organization, the XT cabinets were quickly adopted by nurses. “I attribute that to our strong nursing education department,” said Health System Administrative Director of Pharmacy Jeff Binkley. “They are embedded in the various areas and serve as an ongoing resource.” 

Pharmacy took advantage of the greater medication storage capacity to add more line items, larger items, and—together with improved reporting—to optimize par levels more efficiently. The result is more medications readily available for patients, fewer stockouts, and fewer nursing and pharmacy disruptions. 

The improved security and operational efficiency enabled by the automated Controlled Substance Dispenser benefit both nursing and pharmacy as well. The system stores medications in a secured area inside the cabinet and dispenses specified unit doses into a special drawer for easy nurse access. The process eliminates the need for nurse countbacks and the time it takes to resolve discrepancies. 

“The Controlled Substance Dispenser system and workflow basically shift the time burden off nursing, so nurses have more time for patient care,” explained Michael Barton, Director of Pharmacy at Maury Regional Medical Center.  

The Controlled Substance Manager improves management of controlled substances throughout the hospital. By integrating with XT cabinets, it provides perpetual controlled substance inventory management and an automated audit trail. 

Future Plans: Leveraging Interoperability and Automating Anesthesia Workflow   

Pharmacy leaders continue to hone their team’s skills with the current systems, and look to more fully leverage the benefits of Omnicell-Cerner EHR interoperability while also extending automation into anesthesia practice areas. 

“There are always improvements to be made,” said Binkley. “We are continuously learning and advancing. And I feel that we are doing it with the system that is best in class.” 

The Impact

Key Outcomes:

  • Enhanced controlled substance security 
  • Realized nursing time savings
  • Increased pharmacy efficiency 
  • Positioned for future advancements 

Customer Benefits:

  • Reduced risk of medication error 
  • Increased nursing time spent on direct patient care 
  • Less pharmacy time responding to missing medication calls 

"I’m pleased with the new XT cabinet system. We’re miles ahead in terms of functionality and innovation, our end users are satisfied, and we’re actually spending less money."

Jeff Binkley, Administrative Director of Pharmacy, Maury Regional Health System 

"The reporting, data analysis, and support capabilities through OmniCenter provide our pharmacy and IT folks a greater ability to review, manage, and modify the system down to the cabinet level."

Michael Barton, Director of Pharmacy, Maury Regional Medical Center   

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