In 2017, Memorial Hospital’s outpatient pharmacy underwent expansion from servicing not only its employees but the local community as well. Two important new programs were cultivated from the expansion at this Gulfport, Miss., facility. First, the pharmacy launched a “meds to beds” prescription discharge program, offering the service to inpatients at the time of discharge as a convenient alternative and enabling the ability to leave with any needed medications in hand. More recently, the pharmacy has entered into the specialty medication arena, with hopes to collaborate with clinic providers and staff to enhance patient care and help support an encompassing treatment plan.
Ashlee Ladner, Pharm.D., the manager of Memorial Outpatient Pharmacy, has implemented process improvements and workflow enhancements in correlation with the pharmacy’s growth. One of the most successful components has also been the smallest and simplest: a Kirby Lester KL1Plus verification-plus-counting device. Before, script filling was a manual process where staff performed product verification via a label and counted manually. The only barcode product verification was performed by the pharmacist downstream at final check. At this point, the pharmacist would catch any discrepancies due to the manual filling process and would reroute the prescription upstream for corrections. Now that the technicians use the KL1Plus during filling, few discrepancies ever get to the pharmacist.
With such a high daily prescription volume, did the team consider full-size robotic automation? Not even an option. Space was one of the largest challenges within the pharmacy, so the tabletop-sized KL1Plus was one of the few technologies that could fit. As it turns out, the tiny device checked all the boxes:
- Small footprint.
- Keeps a record of every fill.
- Scan-verifies 100% of meds, including unit-of-use doses.
- Used for a full-pharmacy inventory count.
- Alerts strength or quantity mismatch.
- Fit the budget.
“The KL1Plus now saves time for both pharmacists and technicians,” says Shannon Canzoneri, Pharm.D., pharmacy coordinator at Memorial Outpatient Pharmacy. With the growth they felt, having the KL1Plus was a practical addition to the workflow and optimized the current process. The KL1Plus NDC check assures correct product selection before entering into the final verification step by the pharmacist. Unique dosage forms, including liquids, ointments, and creams, can still use the barcode and quantity verification provided by the KL1Plus.
The Memorial pharmacy technicians were understandably skeptical — at first glance, the Kirby Lester presented another step to their workflow. However, filling speed on the device quickly won the technicians over. “Ninety-day prescriptions are frequently dispensed with quantities exceeding 180, making KL1Plus a convenient alternative to hand-counting,” says Ladner. Incorporation of the two initial machines has proven to the team its benefits and contributions, spurring requests for a third machine. CT