Impact of Decentralized Automated Dispensing Robotics Machine on Patient Medication Compliance in an Institutional Ward
Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center Pharmacy Service located in Bonham, Texas fills about 400 to 500 outpatient prescriptions for Veterans per day. With significantly increased workload demands and complexities over the past three years in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system, pharmacy staff were having an increasingly hard time keeping up with the workload and domiciliary nursing staff and eligible patients were having a difficult time making multiple 8 to 10-minute trips to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. As a result, patients were often not getting their medication supply, leading to noncompliance, a frustrated nursing staff, and poorer patient rehabilitation outcomes. To solve these problems, an automated dispensing robotics machine offering 24 hours-aday, 7 days-a-week prescription pickup service was installed in the domiciliary to reduce pharmacy pickup window traffic and improve patient and nursing satisfaction, by allowing Veterans to pick up their medications without waiting in line, even when the pharmacy is closed. Veteran medication compliance rates were analyzed by comparing return to stock prescription data from before implementation of the machine, to after go-live training. Post implementation return to stock prescription data was collected over one year post training. The decentralized automated dispensing machine reduced trips to the pharmacy from the domiciliary by transitioning domiciliary prescriptions to an alternate, convenient pickup location situated within the domiciliary and also improved patient medication compliance by 34%.