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80,000 Kits Processed – It’s about Scalability

by Kevin MacDonald

Friday, I talked about how 500,000 medications tagged, tracked and processed by Kit Check helped drive substantial labor savings. Just as important is that our customers processed over 80,000 hospital pharmacy kits during that same period. This is a scalability milestone as much as a labor saving milestone.

Scalability for Hospital Pharmacy Automation

One of the biggest criticisms of hospital pharmacy automation solutions has been that they are not user friendly. Kit Check addresses that directly as outlined in a recent blog post by my co-founder Tim Kress-Spatz. The other complaint we often hear is that technologies for hospital pharmacies aren’t very scalable. Well, Kit Check set out to address that problem too. Given the numbers, I’d say we are on track.

vial-tagged

Another item that my colleague and pharmacist, Doug Zurawski, stresses is that this is the first example in the pharmacy of RFID used at scale. He points out that pilots using RFID for tracking blood or even cabinet based systems for medications have tracked hundreds or thousands of items, not hundreds of thousands of items. His point is that we have helped validate RFID technology for pharmacists interested in better tracking items with scale such as medications.

Adding up the Numbers – 12,235 kits in August

kits-ready-to-goMore significant than the 80,000 kit number is the 12,235 kits processed with 863,000 automated medication identification in August alone. Together these put into context what it means to have 500,000 medication tagged and automatically tracked. The problem with hospital pharmacy kits isn’t so much the large number of medications as the fact that a large number of medications are each handled by a human 11-14 times before they are consumed. With Kit Check, they are only handled by a pharmacy technician 1-2 times and not touched at all by a pharmacist. All of the other times, the Kit Check system identifies and verifies the medications automatically. Scalability of the system on the back-end and ease of use on the front end makes all of this labor savings possible.

The Cloud is Key to Scalability

This is why Kit Check’s cloud-based software architecture is so critical. The system needs to work quickly (5 seconds on average) and reliably at large volumes. This is a big change from technology provided to hospital pharmacies in the past. Most of it involved desktop software or local server-based software. Aside from the burden placed on the IT department, these approaches simply don’t scale very well to the high medication volumes handled by hospital pharmacies. Cloud technology removes the IT burden and enables a scalable system from day one.


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