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Prescription pills.

Case Study: Hospital

Digital automation becomes the perfect cure for ailing information management processes.

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Challenge

 

Challenge

 
Young pharmacist with a digital tablet in drug store checking medicines on the shelf.
Because hospital patients are frequently in pain and discomfort, prescription medicines are used to provide some measure of relief. Unfortunately, patients in a large hospital waited an inordinate amount of time for medicine because of a cumbersome, complicated ordering process. Paper orders arrived in the pharmacy randomly and were placed into stacks. Pharmacists didn't know which orders were urgent. Clerical mistakes and errant deliveries were common. Even in parts of the hospital where electronic ordering was used, clinicians and other staff couldn't track status. Unnecessary phone calls between staff and pharmacists compromised workflow even more.
 
 

The inefficient paper-centric prescription ordering process lacked transparency, speed and accuracy — which led to frustration for patients and staff.

 
 
 

Solution

 

Solution

 
 

Despite unique challenges and responsibilities, hospital stakeholders — from pharmacists to doctors to nursing staff — were united in their quest to improve patient care. As a result, they needed a partner and solution that could simplify how information was shared to expedite how medicine was dispensed and delivered. Ricoh was then chosen to assess the current labor-intensive and paper-centric workflow from initiation through delivery to identify bottlenecks and recommend a faster, more automated process.

 
 
Ricoh conducted an intensive assessment of the entire medication ordering process. It was evident that information could be shared faster and more accurately if it was digitized and automated. The team recommended using Ricoh's Pharmacy Order Management solution featuring DocuScripts software with Ricoh multifunction printers (MFPs).

With the new workflow, hardcopy medication orders — each with a scannable barcode to identify patients — are scanned at the nearest MFP. The order is automatically entered into a digital pharmacy queue. It is time-stamped and includes a priority level. In addition, each order is labeled automatically to identify the MFP used to scan it for more accurate deliveries. Pharmacists can see the entire queue at a glance via several large-format LCD displays. Other staff can check status at any time online.
 

About the customer

With more than 1,000 prescription orders arriving daily from about 40 nursing stations, this large hospital is tasked with meeting the needs of an incredible amount of patients. Key hospital decision-makers are committed to maintaining employee morale as they collectively try to enhance outcomes for every patient.

 
 

Result

Now that every order is available for viewing online, hospital pharmacists can prioritize and fill orders quickly. They receive about 60% fewer phone calls from nurses and other staff checking on order status. With more time to devote to filling orders, pharmacists complete the highest priority orders on average within 12 minutes. Plus, the new system allows them to electronically mark each line item on an order as it's completed to simplify and improve tracking.

The hospital reports that nursing satisfaction has risen with the new prescription ordering process. Nurses are more confident in providing timely care for patients. They also appreciate the fast, easy access to the critical information they need to perform their daily tasks. Nurses, pharmacists and clinicians can interact via instant messaging through the new DocuScripts software from any location at any time.

The new digitized process offers long-term benefits, too. Each order is automatically archived in the records management system for analysis and review to streamline auditing.