Mount Nittany Medical Center gains critical cabinet inventory visibility with Omnicell Essentials

Dashboards are saving critical staff time and delivering greater visibility, leading to smarter medication inventory decision making, and paving the way to reduced costs.

The Challenge

Mount Nittany Medical Center is a 260-bed acute care facility offering emergency, medical, surgical, diagnostic, and community services in State College, Pennsylvania. Part of the regional Mount Nittany Health, which includes a 150-member physician practice across 30 specialties, the hospital is located adjacent to the Pennsylvania State University main campus.

Managing a hospital’s medication inventory can be a time-consuming, labor-intensive, and error-prone process.

Pharmacy managers often are faced with little choice but to rely on manual analysis of detailed, printed reports in order to spot trends regarding inventory quantities, item utilization, and valuation. Assigning par level quantities stored in automated dispensing cabinets is determined through trial and error.

This also was the daily inventory management scenario in place at Mount Nittany Medical Center. The hospital provides patient medications via 34 Omnicell® XT Automated Dispensing Cabinets. Pharmacy technicians specializing in Omnicell system administration were constantly busy managing the day-to-day operations. They became experts in running reports and managing inventory throughout the hospital, including the assignment of cabinet par level medication quantities.

But when staff reductions occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, Mount Nittany’s pharmacy leaders were forced to make decisions on how to spend their limited time.

Mount Nittany Medical Center is a 260-bed acute care facility offering emergency, medical, surgical, diagnostic, and community services in State College, Pennsylvania. Part of the regional Mount Nittany Health, which includes a 150-member physician practice across 30 specialties, the hospital is located adjacent to the Pennsylvania State University main campus.

Managing a hospital’s medication inventory can be a time-consuming, labor-intensive, and error-prone process.

Pharmacy managers often are faced with little choice but to rely on manual analysis of detailed, printed reports in order to spot trends regarding inventory quantities, item utilization, and valuation. Assigning par level quantities stored in automated dispensing cabinets is determined through trial and error.

This also was the daily inventory management scenario in place at Mount Nittany Medical Center. The hospital provides patient medications via 34 Omnicell® XT Automated Dispensing Cabinets. Pharmacy technicians specializing in Omnicell system administration were constantly busy managing the day-to-day operations. They became experts in running reports and managing inventory throughout the hospital, including the assignment of cabinet par level medication quantities.

But when staff reductions occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, Mount Nittany’s pharmacy leaders were forced to make decisions on how to spend their limited time.

The Solution

Activated Solutions

Omnicell Essentials
XT Automated Dispensing Cabinets

To help solve this challenge, Mount Nittany chose to use Omnicell Essentials, a free, cloud-based application that provides real-time XT cabinet-level medication inventory dashboards and diversion prevention analytic dashboards.

Essentials draws on OmniCenter® data to provide at-a-glance visibility, helping users to:

  • Reduce overall inventory levels
  • Manage medications nearing expiration dates
  • Make decisions on use of high-dollar items
  • Act on potential drug diversion indicators

Activated Solutions

Omnicell Essentials
XT Automated Dispensing Cabinets

To help solve this challenge, Mount Nittany chose to use Omnicell Essentials, a free, cloud-based application that provides real-time XT cabinet-level medication inventory dashboards and diversion prevention analytic dashboards.

Essentials draws on OmniCenter® data to provide at-a-glance visibility, helping users to:

  • Reduce overall inventory levels
  • Manage medications nearing expiration dates
  • Make decisions on use of high-dollar items
  • Act on potential drug diversion indicators

Near Real-Time Visibility into Inventory Levels, Values, and Expirations

Mount Nittany pharmacy leaders value the Omnicell Essentials dashboard view because it presents information in a useful, actionable way.

Explained Director of Pharmacy John Rossi, “The Omnicell Essentials dashboard really helps us to focus on where we need to spend our time. You just don’t get that with a report. It’s even more critical now with our staffing adjustments.”

With Essentials, pharmacy leaders can get a 365-day view of historical medication usage for each XT cabinet. They can use Essentials to:

  • Balance cabinet inventory needs specific to patient care areas
  • Right size item par levels in each cabinet
  • Take action on items at risk of expiring
  • View item cost using WAC (wholesale acquisition cost)

“I’ve found the graphs to be very helpful,” said Donna Markle, Pharmacist Assistant II. “Previously, when managing par levels using reports, I tended to look at an item’s maximum usage. Now with Essentials, I get a 90-day or longer view. I can see that maybe maximum use was reached only for a day or two. The solution provides me with a clearer, more accurate understanding of actual use when assigning par levels.”

Markle also finds the savings opportunities beneficial. “Not only does it show where we can save money on high-dollar items, but also I can see slow-moving items that I can remove from a cabinet, or medications about to expire, and reallocate them elsewhere,” she said.

Mount Nittany pharmacy leaders value the Omnicell Essentials dashboard view because it presents information in a useful, actionable way.

Explained Director of Pharmacy John Rossi, “The Omnicell Essentials dashboard really helps us to focus on where we need to spend our time. You just don’t get that with a report. It’s even more critical now with our staffing adjustments.”

With Essentials, pharmacy leaders can get a 365-day view of historical medication usage for each XT cabinet. They can use Essentials to:

  • Balance cabinet inventory needs specific to patient care areas
  • Right size item par levels in each cabinet
  • Take action on items at risk of expiring
  • View item cost using WAC (wholesale acquisition cost)

“I’ve found the graphs to be very helpful,” said Donna Markle, Pharmacist Assistant II. “Previously, when managing par levels using reports, I tended to look at an item’s maximum usage. Now with Essentials, I get a 90-day or longer view. I can see that maybe maximum use was reached only for a day or two. The solution provides me with a clearer, more accurate understanding of actual use when assigning par levels.”

Markle also finds the savings opportunities beneficial. “Not only does it show where we can save money on high-dollar items, but also I can see slow-moving items that I can remove from a cabinet, or medications about to expire, and reallocate them elsewhere,” she said.

Diversion Detection

The Essentials application also provides visibility into users of interest and unresolved discrepancies to aid with diversion detection. It includes insight into devices connected to the OmniCenter server, including:

Next Steps: Linking Essentials with Central Pharmacy Manager

Looking to further strengthen inventory management, Mount Nittany pharmacy leaders also are seeking synergies between Essentials and their recent implementation of Central Pharmacy Manager software.  

For instance, when managers take actions to reduce or reallocate drugs based on Essentials dashboards, they can potentially adjust inventory stored in the carousels, and, possibly impact the wholesaler reordering process further upstream.

The Essentials application also provides visibility into users of interest and unresolved discrepancies to aid with diversion detection. It includes insight into devices connected to the OmniCenter server, including:

Next Steps: Linking Essentials with Central Pharmacy Manager

Looking to further strengthen inventory management, Mount Nittany pharmacy leaders also are seeking synergies between Essentials and their recent implementation of Central Pharmacy Manager software.  

For instance, when managers take actions to reduce or reallocate drugs based on Essentials dashboards, they can potentially adjust inventory stored in the carousels, and, possibly impact the wholesaler reordering process further upstream.

The Impact

Key Outcomes:

  • Reduced overall inventory levels
  • Avoided expired medications
  • Reallocated high-dollar items

Customer Benefits:

  • Saved critical staff time
  • Increased inventory visibility
  • Improved decision making

"The Omnicell Essentials dashboard really helps us to focus on where we need to spend our time. You just don’t get that with a report."

John Rossi, Director of Pharmacy

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