Author: 20northanalytics@gmail.com

Ways to Improve Work Performance in Healthcare

Healthcare systems in the United States rely on quality of care and patient outcomes to help meet their long-term goals. Measuring work performance and productivity is far more complex than task tracking. The way healthcare workers interact with patients is just as important as their ability to perform the administrative responsibilities that keep the organization moving efficiently.

Healthcare organizations must maintain the effectiveness of their performance management programs as the sector increasingly incentivizes health outcomes above treatment volume. The industry decision-makers can enhance work performance by concentrating on their strong and weak aspects in each area. The first step is improving employee engagement and internal communication, which will allow for the implementation of positive changes and modern technologies that streamline performance. 

What Affects Work Performance in Healthcare?

Working in a healthcare environment has unique stressors that put employees at elevated risk for burnout. Intensely stressful and emotional situations, along with long hours, unpredictable schedules, physical demands, risk of exposure to infectious diseases, and more can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and a decrease in job satisfaction and overall mental health. These are all issues that can affect work performance and the ability for medical professionals to provide high-quality care, resulting in a risk to patient safety.

A systematic approach to evaluating work performance includes : 

·       Task performance

·       Contextual performance

·       Counterproductive work behavior

Work performance in healthcare encompasses job obligations such as job skills, clinical competence, work quality (task performance), and those that lie outside of job titles (contextual performance). 

How can you address these specific issues to allow for improved work performance? The key might be to break it down into single challenges and determine what might improve efficiency. An excellent example of this is implementing automated systems, like the unit dose supply method, to help provide relief to overworked staff members. 

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Keeping employees engaged is a challenge that every business faces. Building a connection between team members, especially with healthcare workers, can be a powerful tool in improving job satisfaction, which leads to increased productivity. This enhances quality of care and patient outcomes within a healthcare system.

But, how do you increase employee engagement? There are a few steps you can take.

1. Improve internal communication

Effective communication is key for the success of any business. Numerous studies have noted the link between internal communication and having productive employees. Keeping your team members aware of critical information, news, and other happenings within company can increase productivity and morale.

2. Provide better opportunities for mentorship

A mentorship program is a fantastic way for senior employees to show their newer colleagues the ropes. Simply discussing different ways to go about completing daily tasks can help staff members gain the confidence to conduct their work.

3. Invest in your leadership team

The most obvious, but sometimes overlooked, solution for improving employee engagement is having healthcare leaders that empower and inspire their direct reports. Having a leader with poor people skills or is out of touch can create a negative, toxic workplace environment. A leader with effective communication skills who puts in the effort to include and empower their colleagues will see overall healthcare quality improvement.

4. Provide mental health resources

Stress is an issue medical professionals deal with on a regular basis. Investing in mental health programs shows employees that their well-being is also a top priority of their leadership team. Providing free counseling or assistance programs can help healthcare workers deal with the emotional and physical toll that comes with the long hours in high-pressure situations.

Improving employee engagement is an easy, efficient method for boosting work performance and productivity. An empowered, satisfied healthcare organization leads to better outcomes and greater patient care. 

How Automation and Medical Packaging Solutions Can Help Healthcare Facilities Provide High-Quality Care

Automation, electronic health records, and improvements in medical equipment and machinery can all help to relieve some of the stress from healthcare workers and provide a better patient experience. Utilization of the solutions allows more time for nurses, primary care physicians, pharmacists and additional staff to focus on the patient, instead of organizational tasks.

Medical Packaging Inc., LLC is a leading global manufacturer of pharmaceutical packaging and labeling systems that meet the needs of pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and more. Our systems help increase efficiency throughout healthcare organizations and improve patient safety.

The Unit Dose Supply Method for Healthcare Improvement

A unit dose, also known as a single dose, is a drug that is packaged individually. Each package contains one dose of medication created by an automated packaging and dispensing system. This packing type makes it easier and safer to administer a required dose of medication to a patient. 

Over the past few decades, research on unit dosage medication delivery methods has shown that these systems are more efficient and a more effective way of employing professional resources when compared to alternative drug delivery techniques.

In fact, a 2013 study conducted at the Barzilai Medical Center found that implementing an individual unit dose system provided:

·       Shorter turnaround times between prescribing the drug and administering it

·       Increased pharmacist’s clinical interventions without adding staff

·       Decrease in costs and patient hospitalization times

Any medication not consumed by patients may be returned to a central storage system if the unit dose package was not opened and no sensitive patient data is included on the package. The major benefit is it decreases the risk of medication errors. 

How Administrators Can Use Single Doses to Improve Efficiency

 One of the many benefits of initiating a unit dose packaging system in a healthcare facility is saves time devoted to medication management. Implementing this system starts with identifying the medications that best fit into this process. 

1. Choosing the Right Medications to Package in the System

The unit dose method is best suited for medications in bulk packaging. However, most other types of medication packaging, such as suppositories, ampoules, transdermal patches, and pre-filled syringes, can be packaged into unit doses. After creating a unit medicine dosage, it may be ordered and delivered for safe medication administration.

The medication is not removed from the package until it reaches the patient, which is a significant advantage of unit doses. In addition, it means no cross-contamination with other drugs or human contact.

Unit dosages can also create a patient-specific therapy that combines multiple medications. Medication is transported to nursing stations in patient-specific treatment carriers. This method dramatically decreases the time nursing staff spends physically storing, organizing, and dispensing medicine. Furthermore, clear labeling of a drug name, dose, batch and expiration date increases safety, especially when dealing with high-risk medication.  The use of barcode technology and scanning procedures can also help with drug identification.

2. Determining the Type of Packaging Desired for Each Medication

After determining which medications are best suited for this dosage supply method and the ideal delivery method for each, the healthcare institution must decide on the appropriate equipment.

When defining equipment needs, for example packaging equipment for the different dosage forms of drugs, such as tablets, capsules, injectables, and liquids, factors to consider include:

·       Floor carts for direct distribution

·       Modular filling stations

·       Patient profile holders

Another critical decision is determining what items should be purchased in unit dose packages and what should be packaged in the pharmacy, and how that is accomplished. This will entail identifying the specific package requirements, what supplies the pharmacy needs and the amount required for each format.

The administration must assess the cost of the equipment and consumable supplies to determine the return on investment when budgeting for the unit dosage supply method. For example, how much would the hospital save by implementing this system?

Consider how the implementation of unit dose packaging would affect staff and patient care workflow. What effect will it have on various wards? For example, the impact will be different in pediatric wards than in areas of a hospital that deal with adult patients, such as acute care centers.

3. Creating Effective Training Strategies

When planning implementation, the administration must also consider training and how to conduct it in a way that does not interfere with patient care.

A few effective training methods include:

·       Rotating pharmacy staff to work on single dose dispensing once a week until everyone has completed the training procedure.

·       Educating the nurses using video presentations or live demonstrations of a new system

·       Distributing information on medication administration adjustments to general staff, such as a newsletter.

Training small groups at a time is the most effective way to avoid interruptions in patient care while still ensuring all employees understand the unit dose supply method.

4. Establishing An Internal Plan for All Unit Dose Packaged Medications

Beyond equipment, supplies, and training, the unit dosage supply system requires careful planning before implementation.  In addition, protocols for dose preparation need to follow safe medication practices and standards closely.

The healthcare institution will also need to have a storage system in place, whether in a bulk storage area or on a cart in the nursing unit.  There must also be plans for internal flow from patient admission to patient medication profile to packaging to filling drug delivery carts.

Common factors include:

·       Establishing the ward stock procedures 

·       Designing stock batch controls

·       Inventory management and monitoring

·       Determine how to manage unutilized medications

It may be necessary to modify existing procedures and integrate current technology to accommodate the new process of ordering and administering medication, along with how to achieve accurate dosing calculations and avoid medication errors.

Finding the Right Equipment and Supply Partners

The unit dose supply method improves the work performance of healthcare professionals. The key is collaborating with the right partners for equipment, supplies and support. Medical Packaging Inc., LLC (MPI) can assist you in achieving your medication management goals with unit dose packaging. 

MPI was established in 1971 and is now one of the world’s leading unit dose packaging and pharmaceutical equipment manufacturers. We take pride in producing high-quality pharmaceutical packaging equipment, MPI-certified consumables, and our own Pak-EDGETM UD Barcode Labeling Software. MPI strives to be the premier provider of pharmaceutical packaging solutions that save patients’ lives while increasing productivity and profitability for all clients.

Customer service and technical help is available to all clients in a timely, professional, and courteous manner. We build, maintain, and encourage long-term relationships with our customers, strategic partners, and distributors alike based on professionalism and passion. We assist customers when they are starting or expanding their unit dose packaging program with training, implementation, and technical support if needed. In addition, we are continually improving our pharmacy packaging technologies to ensure that we comply with industry regulations and regulatory requirements for unit dose pharmaceutical packaging. We also promote continual learning and development among all employees to ensure that we remain a market leader in our ever-changing industry.

MPI and the healthcare industry have a common goal – to improve work performance for medical professionals while enhancing the safety of patients.  

 

 

 

Understanding The Unit Dose Supply Method

Every person is unique, as are their symptoms and illness. Therefore, distinct types of therapy, customized to each patient’s specific needs, are a necessary part of quality patient care.

Drug administration is a high-risk practice in and of itself. Aside from that, medical personnel in health care facilities are under extreme time constraints. Regardless, the only thing that matters, in the end, is that the appropriate drug at the proper dosage reaches the right patient at the right time. As a result, using the unit dose supply method helps hospitals reduce medication mistakes while also saving time for patient care.

The Benefits of the Unit Dose Supply Method

The unit dose supply method delivers the recommended dose of a given medicine to a specific patient at a particular time. It differs from previous approaches in that each dose of prescription medicine is packaged separately in a ready-to-administer form.

Each packet is labeled so that it can be identified until it is administered to the patient. The packaging, which is labeled with detailed information, including the drug’s generic name, strength, control number, and expiration date, essentially minimizes contamination caused by the drug’s transfer and handling. As a result, the approach significantly decreases the possibility of medication errors.

The unit dose method offers multiple advantages:

  • Improved drug control and monitoring of drug usage.
  • Reduction in credits for medications
  • Pharmacists have more influence over work habits and schedules.
  • Patient medication profiles can be kept at the pharmacy for each patient so that pharmacists may participate in patient care monitoring.
  • Improved utilization of pharmaceutical and hospital staff.
  • The pharmacy prepares all medicine dosages necessary, giving pharmacists and nurses more time to provide direct patient care.
  • Because the number of drugs is limited to the patient’s needs for 24 hours only, there is less pilferage and drug waste.
  • Lowers revenue losses
  • Floor stock is decreased in size; floor stock is confined to pharmaceuticals for emergency use and often used products. It conserves space in the nursing unit, which helps reduce costs since inventory control is optimized.
  • More accurate medication billing for patients. Patients are only charged for the dosages that are provided to them

It is a system that supports the five rights of medication administration: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right route, and the right time.

Planning a unit dose system is a uncomplicated process that can be done without interrupting the pharmacy operation or impacting patient care.

Identify Medications to Package in Unit Dose Form

The process starts with the hospital identifying all medications for use as a single unit dose and determining the form of packaging needed. The unit dose method is best suited for medications that come in bulk packaging.

However, most other types of drug packaging, such as suppositories, ampoules, transdermal patches, or prefilled syringes, can be packaged into unit dosages. After creating a unit medicine dosage, the item may be ordered from the hospital unit for safe medication administration.

One significant advantage of unit dosages is that the pharmaceuticals are not removed from the unit dose package until they reach the patient. This also implies no cross-contamination with other medications or human contact.

Unit dosages can also be used to develop a patient-specific treatment that incorporates more than one medicine. The medications are delivered to the nursing stations in patient-specific treatment carriers. This approach drastically reduces the time nursing personnel spends physically storing, sorting, and providing medicine. Furthermore, clear labeling of medicine, dose, batch, and expiration date improves safety in handling high-risk medication. The use of barcode technology and scanning procedures can also help with drug identification.

Determine the Type of Desired Packaging for Each Medication

After the health care facility determines which medications are best suited for this unit dose supply method, and the ideal delivery method necessary for each, they must go through a system selection process that includes identifying the necessary equipment.

When identifying equipment requirements, include packaging equipment for the various dosage forms of medications such as tablets, capsules, injectables, and liquids. Other considerations include:

  • Floor carts for direct distribution
  • Modular filling stations
  • Patient profile holders

Another critical decision to make is to decide what items should be purchased in unit-dose packages and what is best packaged in the pharmacy, and how that is accomplished. This will involve identifying the unique package requirements, what supplies the pharmacy needs, and what volume is necessary for each format.

When budgeting for the unit dose supply method, the administration must determine the cost of the equipment and consumable supplies and the potential return on investment. How much is implementing this system saving the hospital?

Also, consider the impact the implementation of unit dose packaging will have on the staff and patient care workflow. How will it affect different wards? The impact will likely be different in the pediatrics wards than in the areas that deal primarily with adult patients, such as an acute care facility.

The administration will also need to consider training time frames when planning implementation. Training will start in the pharmacy and then move to the medical and nursing units. Training can be conducted in a way that will not disrupt patient care.

Some efficient training approaches might include:

  • Rotating pharmacy staff to work on the single dose dispensing every week until everyone goes through the training process
  • Rotating the nurses through audiovisual presentations of the new system
  • Providing general staff with information on the drug administration changes via newsletters or media

Training small groups at a time is the most effective way to avoid interruptions in patient care while still ensuring all employees understand the unit dose supply method.

Establish Internal Planning for All Unit Dose Packaged Medications

The unit dose supply method requires careful planning before implementation beyond equipment, supplies, and training. In addition, protocols for dose preparation need to follow safe medication practices closely.

The health care facility will also need to have a system in place for storage, whether it is in a bulk storage space or on a cart in the nursing unit. There must also be plans for internal flow from patient admission to patient medication profile to packaging to filling drug delivery carts.

Some common considerations include:

  • Setting up the ward stock procedures
  • Designing stock batch controls
  • Inventory tracking and management
  • Determine how to handle drugs not used

There may also be a need to modify existing procedures and to integrate current technology to support the new way of ordering and administering medication, along with how to do proper dose calculations and avoid medication errors.

Additional Pharmacy Requirements to Review

Do a space assessment to see how much room is available and decide how much extra space might be needed. A centralized pharmaceutical storage system with a pharmacy automation solution is essential to allow medical professionals to deal with unit dosages throughout a health care facility.

Nurses are liberated from repetitious chores and may dedicate more time to patient-related activities by centralizing drug storage and therapy preparation inside the central pharmacy. Selection and sorting mistakes that occur during the preparation of manual drug preparation are also eliminated. Therapies can be produced at any moment, whether planned or unplanned. The unit dosage drug and the therapeutic ring can also be manufactured at the same time.

It is necessary to ensure compliance with industry standards such as USP 800 and serialization. At the same time, healthcare facilities must implement safety protocols, QA standards, and testing.

However, the most critical aspect of implementing the unit dose supply method is partnering with the right company for equipment and packaging needs.

Medical Packaging Inc., LLC (MPI) was founded in 1971 and has since evolved to become one of the world’s top unit dosage packaging system manufacturers. We take pride in producing high-quality pharmaceutical packaging equipment, MPI-certified consumable materials, and our proprietary Pak-EDGETM UD Barcode Labeling Software. MPI, headquartered in Flemington, New Jersey, services customers in North America, Latin and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and emerging countries across the world. MPI aims to be the leading provider of pharmacy packaging solutions that help save patients’ lives while boosting productivity and profitability for all clients.

MPI strives for excellence in developing and producing pharmaceutical packaging systems, software, and MPI-certified consumable materials. We provide high-quality items at reasonable costs, and our equipment offers the most up-to-date features and functionality while preserving optimum dependability and simplicity of use. All our clients receive prompt, professional, and courteous customer service and technical assistance. We establish, maintain, and promote continuing connections with our customers, strategic partners, and distributors alike, based on a foundation of professionalism and excellence.

We work with clients to support them not just when they are first establishing their unit dose system program but throughout training to implementation to utilization. We are always developing our pharmacy packaging technologies to assure continuing conformity to industry rules and regulatory requirements for unit dosage pharmaceutical packaging. We also encourage continuous learning and development among all staff to guarantee that we can remain a leader in our ever-changing marketplace.

How to Label a Medication Syringe

In providing patient medication supplies, there is a lot of detail that goes into each and every package. Unit dose medication packaging solutions including materials like labels for single-dose vials and syringes must also comply with federal standards for labeling drugs. This takes a lot of diligent attention and can be a daunting task for healthcare facilities and pharmacies. The evidence suggests that pharmacies are making more critical mistakes with mislabeled or unlabeled syringes, leading to serious medication safety concerns. However, there are guidelines and technologies available to assist pharmacists in providing the most accurate labeling information for every medication syringe. Start by understanding more about the importance of safe and accurate medication labels. 

Importance of Labeling Medication Syringes

The Joint Commission released National Patient Safety Goals, laying out goals for improving medication safety by labeling all medications, medication containers, and other solutions to ensure patients receive the correct medication, whether they are in a perioperative setting, assisted living community, or by themselves at home. According to Federal Survey Manual and F431 §483.60(d) Labeling of Drugs and Biologicals, “Drugs and biologicals used in the facility must be labeled in accordance with currently accepted professional principles, and include the appropriate accessory and cautionary instructions, and the expiration date when applicable.” 

Injectable medications, along with many oral medications, are dispensed as ready-to-use syringes that are either administered by a healthcare professional or by the patient. This is when labeling medications is paramount, since patients have only the information on the syringe label to help guide them. However, even in clinical areas, mistakes can be made when medication vials and syringes are improperly labeled. Hazardous conditions are increased for the patient when high-alert medications are being administered.

Everything the patient requires for proper dose administration must be printed on the label. At a minimum, medication containers and medication syringe labels must include:

  • Accurate spelling of medication name  
  • Brand name or generic name
  • Patient’s name
  • Dosing amounts
  • Dosing and/or drug administration instructions
  • Total medication quantity
  • Medication expiration date
  • Date of dispensing
  • Serial number
  • Name of the prescriber
  • Name, address, and telephone number of the issuing pharmacy

Each piece of information is there to improve patient safety. Reducing spelling errors, typographical mistakes, or the spacing of the information including label breaks will help prevent patient harm.

Safe Labeling Prevents Medication Errors

A patient error with medication involving a syringe can send a patient straight to the ER or worse. This could be due to an overdose of medication, or not using enough medication because the labeling instructions are inaccurate. Other concerns are using the wrong medication altogether due to a mistake with labeling in the pharmacy.

Keeping patients out of the emergency room is a top priority for the medical industry. Medication is expected to make the patient better, not increase their rate of illness or chance of suffering from an overdose, adverse reaction, or misuse. This is where providing safe labeling will prevent medication errors and save a pharmacy from a lawsuit.

Issues With Mislabeling Vaccinations

Vaccines are one of the most common types of injectable medications, especially since the COVID-19 vaccines became available. Giving the wrong dosage or vaccine can be detrimental to the patient’s health and personal wellness. 

In 2021, there were multiple reports of mix-ups between the Flu and COVID-19 vaccines. With more vaccinations being added to the market all the time, labeling syringes accurately and having procedures in place to reduce errors is the best way to ensure patients are getting the right vaccine at the right dose.

It is important to focus on perfecting a medication syringe labeling process. This typically involves automation equipment as a way to also improve production with fewer labeling mistakes. Along with choosing a new syringe labeling system by MPI, you want to identify elements of syringe labels that must meet federal and industry guidelines. This includes the font type and size, as well as the color of the label and printed information.

Best Practices for Labeling a Medication Syringe

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) reports errors with injectable medications remain a common problem. Along with being more common than other types of medications, such as pills, about 50 percent of harmful errors in injectable medications occur during administration. By eliminating labeling mistakes on injectable medications, you are able to minimize danger to the patient. That is worth the extra effort in best practices for labeling a medication syringe. 

Let’s cover some of the best practices for labeling a medication syringe. The label itself must be:

  • Clearly printed
  • Provide all of the medication information
  • Not reduce the nurse or patient’s ability to administer medication for themselves in a timely and safe manner

There are several ways to ensure this happens when labeling an injectable medication.

Start with the label design and where the information is printed, especially key data like patient name, drug name, dose instructions, dosage amount, and pharmacy contact number. The label must also meet specific industry guidelines for the medication you are labeling.

For example, if you are labeling vaccinations, there will be labeling requirements that differ from the labeling of anesthesia. Determining the correct labeling requirements for the type of medication syringe you are packaging is very important at this stage. 

Watch for how the label breaks when flagging labels. A label break occurs where the end of a label lies on a syringe. If the label break is in an awkward placement, the nurse or patient could miss key information. This could be a number or the inclusion of a few ending letters on an important word.

Covering syringe barrel markings is another critical error that happens with pharmaceutical syringe labeling. If the syringe markings, indicating measurements for dosing, are not visible due to the sticker label, this slows down patient care and may lead to medication dosing errors.

If the pharmacist is adding additional information to a medication syringe label after it is affixed to the unit, there are some ways to do this safely. Use a ballpoint pen or a permanent felt-tipped marker on a label when handwriting instructions to minimize smearing. Patients can’t read a smudged or blurred word very well, which will likely lead to improper medication administration or dosing.

Color blindness and age-related vision loss are concerns for patients self-administering medication. For high-contrast color combinations on labeling for syringes, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recommends the following:

  • Black text on white background
  • Blue text on yellow background
  • White text on blue background
  • Blue text on white background

Using an optimal color combination for text on the background of a medication syringe is one area where the pharmacist or provider of patient medication supplies can improve patient care. There is also the use of certain color options that are reserved specifically for labeling certain drugs considered more dangerous as classified narcotics, such as benzodiazepines or opioids. For example, the color Salmon 156 is reserved for major tranquilizers and anti-emetics, while beta blockers have two colors–Copper 876U and White.

For more information, check with specific health care industries and providers of safe medical practices. The ASA provides specific guidelines for labeling pharmaceuticals used in anesthesiology. They are responsible for potent medications used for putting patients under general anesthesia for surgery. As a result, the ASA is alert to the importance and patient care associated with medication syringes.

How Medical Packaging Inc., LLC Can Help

Medical Packaging Inc., LLC (MPI) is a leading provider of unit dose and liquid medicine packaging and labeling systems. With MPI’s Auto-Wrap® Syringe Labeling System, you can automate the process of labeling injectable medications and oral syringes. Compact enough to fit in an office, the label printer is capable of printing 20 syringes in 60 seconds. This is the perfect solution for retail pharmacies and hospital pharmacies.

Find out how our medical packaging and labeling units will improve your business and increase productivity. Contact MPI today to request a free quote for your ideal medical packaging equipment.

 

 

Medical Equipment Planning

Medical equipment planning for medical suppliers as well as wholesale drug distributors and retail pharmacies requires an extensive amount of deliberation. Along with determining which supplies to focus on, whether it be medical equipment for hospitals and clinics or pharmaceutical supplies, there is so much involved in this industry. Managing medical and pharmacy equipment planning requires identifying products for purchasing, along with pinpointing and predicting healthcare industry needs. Compliance is also a major factor. Healthcare providers involved with medical and pharmacy equipment supplies must meet federal regulations to ensure all equipment and supplies are safe for use in the capacity of private patient care. To help you determine how to begin this behemoth task of medical and pharmacy equipment planning, here are several key areas including space, machine needs, and other requirements to cover as a business owner or wholesale equipment dealer.

Machine Needs

Choosing the right equipment for a facility is paramount to helping medical customers and healthcare providers save lives, as well as a huge amount of money. There are many different types of medical equipment and supplies. These range from storage and transport of equipment to diagnostic, electronic, surgical, and acute care equipment. In terms of storage of medical equipment, trays and transport systems are needed to store and move medical equipment. At the very least, you will need these for holding medical equipment while in inventory or for display and testing purposes. Facilities may also provide durable medical equipment (DME), which is used in home health care, including hospice care. This includes beds and equipment provided for patients in their home environment.

Diagnostic medical equipment includes X-ray generators, computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanners, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. Smaller yet still as important equipment needed for efficient medical management includes thermometers, stethoscopes, and procedure medical equipment. Examples of procedural medical supplies include forceps, surgical clamps, operating scissors, and scalpels, as well as headlights and gloves.

Acute care equipment is much in-demand for hospitals and medical clinics. This type of medical equipment includes monitoring equipment and nonsurgical instruments, as well as trash for minor procedures and general purposes. Wound care and skincare supply kits are also in constant demand for medical units. Other examples of medical equipment needed for efficient medication management include medication pumps, medical imaging software, heart rate monitors, and powered medical equipment. This covers defibrillators, pacemakers, and other lifesaving medical devices.

Pharmacies require suppliers to have shelving and software, as well as bottling and labeling supplies. This also includes applicators and dispensers, as well as balance printers, cables, and adapters plus accessories. Pill counters, tampers, capsule machines, and full systems for compounding pharmacists are also in demand in this market. Powder presses, remote swabbing, and microbiological sampling tools are also some of the interesting equipment needed by pharmacy equipment wholesalers. 

Space

The amount of square footage available in the pharmacy section will depend on several factors. Medical supplies and drug manufacturing equipment, as well as trays and tables for bottling and packaging materials will be included in this area. While this may not seem like a lot in terms of inventory and storage, pharmacy storage can quickly ramp up to be equal to the amount of footage you need to store machinery.

This brings up how to determine the space that will be dedicated to machinery and larger medical equipment. This includes storage and transport equipment along with traction equipment, hospital beds, and lifts. Surgical tables and instrument tables are also large pieces of equipment that will take up a lot of storage space.

Most likely the split for pharmacy and machinery will be 40/60 at the most for pharmacy goods, whereas a 30/70 divide for pharmacy/machinery would be doable as well. Medical machinery and equipment tends to be larger and requires more room to move it around in inventory compared to pharmacy equipment and supplies.

Requirements

There are several features of medication packaging equipment planning that need to be addressed by stakeholders in a hospital, health system or medical pharmacy. These include serialization, barcoding, and FDB compatibility. To provide the best services for end customers, these features should be made available when procuring equipment.

Serialization and DSCSA Requirement

A key feature for medical equipment planning is serialization in response to the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). This act by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will go into effect by 2023. The purpose of the DSCSA is to enhance drug distribution security provisions in the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain. As a business involved in medical equipment planning, this topic pertains to system and data security, as well as product tracing and verification for product legitimacy.

As a result of the DSCSA, the FDA requires product identifiers for serialization to be included on prescription drug packages “on the smallest individual salable unit.” Prescription drug wholesalers must also be equipped to utilize the Verification Router Service (VRS) to manage all salable returns. By 2023, wholesalers must also provide “enhanced drug distribution security across the pharmaceutical supply chain,” according to CosmoTrace, a pharmatech consulting firm in the UK and India.

Barcoding

The healthcare industry utilizes barcode technology in a number of ways. As Recommendations for Using Barcode in Hospital Process from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports, “Barcode technology can prevent medical errors by providing detailed and reliable information in the site of patient care.” For success with barcode technology on medical equipment, there are two basic requirements. The barcodes must be well made and clear, and staff must be equipped with the proper scanning technology to read these barcodes. Utilize the latest in medical and pharmaceutical barcode printing and scanning technologies to be competitive in this market.

FDB Compatibility

First Databank (FDB) is a leading resource for pharmacists and doctors regarding healthcare information. They offer extensive information about electronic health records and drug management, as well as prescription drug pricing and medication warnings. FDB provides a variety of solutions for technology developers, healthcare providers, and retail pharmacies. When determining drug pricing for wholesale and retail pharmacies, the FDB MedKnowledge® Drug Pricing database features everything from wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) to Medicare Part B pricing schedules.

FDA Compliance

The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) provides annually updated standards for manufacturers and regulatory organizations. The USP is involved in food ingredients, medicine, and other ingredients, including dietary supplements and pharmacy compounding standards. Two of these standards are most applicable when managing medical equipment planning.

These include USP 797 Pharmaceutical Compounding of Sterile Preparations and USP 800 Hazardous Drugs Handling in Healthcare Settings. The current USP 797 and 800 guidelines for pharmacy and/or medical equipment planning are informational concerning compliance with the FDA. Follow the USP 797 and 800 guidelines when establishing a new medical equipment manufacturing facility to be on the front lines of compliance.

USP 797 and USP 800 cover organizational planning for human resource policies; exposure to hazardous drugs; drug handling construction and ventilation; compounding requirements; and risk mitigation for handling and disposing of medications. Following these USP guidelines when planning medical equipment installations and layouts will best suit your company. This is both helpful in terms of providing invaluable planning advice, but it will also ensure safety and compliance with the FDA in the future.

Budget

Determining a budget is key to setting up a successful medical and/or pharmacy equipment wholesale supply business. Figure out the total amount your company can spend on pharmacy equipment in this fiscal year. Anything that goes above budget should be planned for the next fiscal year. Ideally, you want to have a three to five-year plan with a budget outlined from the start of medical equipment planning.

This gives you a better perspective when making one-off purchases and dealing with unexpected expenses and price increases. Also, consider what you will do if pharmacy equipment or medical supplies suddenly hit a price dip. Will you purchase equipment in such an instance, and if so, are you dependent on discount pricing? Timing is key to operating any business and sudden deals can provide a ton of savings if you are able to take advantage of such opportunities.

Staffing

The staff who will be operating the medical and pharmacy equipment are the next area of focus. Anyone who is responsible for shipments and deliveries of pharmacy and medical equipment must be trained on how to handle and receive equipment. Additionally, those staff members who are going to be using this equipment need to have proper instruction and formal training in some instances.

Providing medical and pharmacy equipment training is essential for maintaining customers in this marketplace. A lot of times, medical equipment purchasing managers are most interested in a vendor that is willing to provide training at the onset of purchasing equipment, and on down the line in the case of equipment updates or safety recalls.

Training for installing equipment, along with safety training and instruction on how to use the equipment, should be made available to purchasing customers.

4 Types of Medication Packaging Equipment

To ensure safety during medication preparation and distribution procedures, hospital pharmacy equipment must maintain compliance with regulatory controls and conformity assessments. Purchasing safe equipment and packaging systems, and making timely replacements for outdated systems, is paramount to businesses in health care. Here are four types of medication packaging equipment available by Medical Packaging Inc., LLC (MPI) to choose from when installing or upgrading your pharmacy equipment. These include oral solid and oral liquid packaging systems along with overwrapping and labeling systems.

Oral Solid Packaging Systems

Auto-Print®

To provide fast and accurate packaging with barcoding and label printing in-house, Auto-Print® Packaging System offers a comprehensive solution. This is a barcode and package system that meets technical specifications to print clear and scannable medication information.  A safe, tamper-proof unit dose package containing detailed medication and barcode information will be delivered to the bedside thanks to this efficiency in labeling and packaging. 

The system is designed to package at a speed of 60-unit dose packages per minute. This is useful for packaging both tablets and capsules for oral solid packaging in wholesale and retail pharmacy locations. Along with a Model #9300E printer with 300 DPI resolution, this packaging system comes with Pak-EDGE™ UD Barcode Labeling Software that is optimized for use with Windows® software. This barcode technology works for 2D, linear, and GS1 barcode creation. Customers also receive access to the First DataBank™ for comprehensive prescription drug source library and imaging information.

As you will learn in a moment, there are several attachments and additional pieces of equipment that operate as part of the Auto-Print® Unit Dose Packaging System. This is a total barcoding and packaging automation system that has been in production for more than 30 years.

Hospital pharmacies depend on this packaging machinery for handling the bulk of oral solid packaging needs in the health care industry. The use of the Auto-Print® system allows for stricter adherence to stringent quality control procedures by hospitals and the federal government. This system also serves to decrease costs, increase efficiency, and reduce and hopefully eliminate errors for pharmacies.

Express 90

The comparable Auto-Print® Express 90 Packaging System maxes out at 90 unit doses of oral solid medications per minute. Acute care, hospital and retail pharmacies appreciate the higher rate of production afforded by this piece of machinery. The Express 90 system is clocked at 50 percent faster than the standard Auto-Print®.

When speed counts the most, the Express 90 is the optimal choice in packaging systems for oral solid medications. If you are a business owner who previously owned an Auto-Print® but now wants to increase output, the Express 90 is the way to go. This packaging system increases efficiency and cost savings while maximizing output in a safe and economical manner.

Oral Solid Feeder Attachment

The Auto-Print® Oral Solid Feeder (OSF) Attachment allows bulk medication to be loaded into the feeder. This optimizes the fully automated packaging system for speed and efficiency. While optional, the feeder attachment is value-packed to offer increased accuracy and timing when filling prescriptions.

The system operates with oral solids, including tablets and capsules, being filled and sealed in sterile unit dose packages. Using the method of bulk loading medication, individual units are measured, counted, and sorted using an automated system. This eliminates the back-numbing task of hand sorting medications.

The Oral Solid Feeder will handle tablets and capsules measuring up to a half-inch in diameter. High volume runs for pharmacies and wholesale distributors are improved and optimized with the OSF attachment for the Auto-Print® oral solid packaging solution.

The oral solid feeder attachment is an accessory item for the Auto-Print® Packaging System. MPI offers additional customization for the medication packaging system that works with this OSF. This includes the Canister Feeder Attachment, which we will cover next. 

Canister Feeder Attachment

The Auto-Print® Canister Feeder (CF) Attachment provides additional automation support for filling prescription unit dose packages. The canister feeder facilitates the specialized packaging using canisters. This oral solid unit dose packaging system is also modifiable with the latest in drug canister technology.

With the Auto-Print® CF Attachment, the goal is to modify an existing canister technology to work with automated packaging assemblies. This provides much more efficiency in packaging fulfillment. The attachment handles up to 60 packages in 60 seconds and supports a minimal cost per dose (CPD) for the most in economic savings.

Only those canisters with a 7cm-by-7cm canister base size will fit, but the system only needs one canister. Also, the canister feeder option is only available for the standard Auto-Print® and can be operated in canister mode or manual mode.

Oral Liquid Packaging Systems

Fluidose®

The Fluidose® Series 6 Unit Dose Packaging systems are designed as a leading solution for oral liquid packaging. This system provides unit dose cup packaging for oral liquid medication. The rate of dispensing medication is 22 doses in 60 seconds. Fluidose® supports the entire packaging and barcoding process from start to finish for oral liquids. This has newly added features and simplified operating procedures compared to its predecessor, Fluidose® Series 5H. The Fluidose® packaging system is also compliant with the FDA regulations for food contact.

Auto-Draw®

Auto-Draw® is an expert Oral Syringe Filling System that provides another method for oral liquid packaging. This is a filling system that operates using an oral syringe for accuracy in dose packaging. The semi-automatic functionality allows for filling oral slip syringes in a wide variety of sizes and viscosities. The unit dose packaging system fills to a volume of 1 mL to 50 mL. Auto-Draw® is also a compact system that comes equipped with a touchscreen interface for speed of information. The Auto-Draw® system works in conjunction with the Auto-Wrap® Syringe Labeling System for a complete packaging and labeling setup.

FD-Pharma™

The next oral liquid packaging system that is most commonly used in small pharmaceutical manufacturing and CDMO settings is the FD-Pharma™. This system is FDA compliant to solve unit dose demands for oral liquid cup packaging. Medication repacking companies and boutique pharmaceutical firms that are running on a low scale are best served with the FD-Pharma™. This is ideally designed for managing low volume production along with validation runs.

Overwrapping Systems

Pharmacy Accessory Bagging System

The Pharmacy Accessory Bagging System (PABS) assists in the final stages of the packaging process. This system provides barcoding for medication packaging. Additionally, the packaging system fills and seals up to 35 bags in 60 seconds. PABS works for ampoules, syringes, and vials for a more comprehensive overwrapping system to serve a wider range of customer demands.

Auto-Print® Max Bagger

The Auto-Print® Max Bagger is an equally as impressive overwrapping system while not quite as fast. This system works to fill 30 bags per minute using automation technology. The Max Bagger offers a substantial process of bagging and labeling medications. This overwrap packaging system includes everything needed for packaging medications, and for printing barcodes and labels on unit packages. This works with robotic drug distribution systems for a comprehensive solution to manage two standard-sized fill bags, 3 ½ by 4 inches and 5 inches square. 

Labeling Systems

Auto-Wrap®

In the final stages of processing and packaging medical supplies and medication, the use of an automated labeling system is in order. Here the Auto-Wrap® is a highly responsive machine that wraps up to 20 syringes through a labeling system in 60 seconds. The time savings is estimated to be up to 2 ⅔ minutes per 25 syringes compared to manual wrapping, which shaves down total production costs.

Each syringe is expertly labeled in a single motion, reducing labeling errors and increasing productivity. The labeling solution provides an ergonomic way of labeling a large quantity of medical syringes. This reduces repetitive stress injuries and improves efficiency. The Auto-Wrap® technology reduces workplace injuries for employees involved in packaging these products.

Pharmacy Accessory Label Printer

Lastly, we have the Pharmacy Accessory Label Printer (PALP), which is an excellent addition to any acute care, hospital, and retail pharmacies or medical supply distributors. The PALP includes a commercial desktop printer and Pak-EDGE™ UD Barcode Labeling Software for the complete system. This premium equipment supports state-of-the-art barcoding and labeling technology. The compact size of PALP allows this system to be installed on a desktop.

The system is designed to print labels and barcodes for ampoules, syringes, and vials, as well as for other pharmacy accessories. Labeling parenteral medications has never been easier or more efficient. The printer has two different models that can be purchased, including Direct Thermal Label Printer and Thermal Transfer Label Printer. This system is ideal for a medical device manufacturer or health care provider interested in optimizing their processes with automation.

Choose Medical Packaging Equipment by MPI

Optimize the types of medical equipment available with the vast selection offered at MPI. Along with oral solid and oral liquid packaging systems that include overwrapping, barcoding, and labeling, these systems are backed by medical literature.

Each solution we support in our catalog of products comes with superior client and technical support. Let us help you choose the right medication packaging and labeling equipment for your needs today. Contact MPI for a quote on services and product solutions.