Are interruptions impacting your medication pass process?

Post Date: May 18th 2016

Author: Kristine Tenorio

Nurses are often seen as first line responders when it comes to care delivery within hospitals and health systems. It therefore comes as no surprise that interruptions and distractions are the rule of thumb—not the exception—for nursing activity.

It’s common for clinicians or family members to stop a nurse more than once while he or she pulls medications from an automated dispensing cabinet (ADC). In fact, findings from one study suggest nurses experience an average of 6.7 disruptions per hour. Another report revealed interruptions occur in nursing workflows every two minutes during the medication pass process.

Most notably, research points to a direct link between the frequency of interruptions and the likelihood of medication error—increasing the probability by 12.1 percent for procedural failures and 12.7 percent for clinical errors.

Amid the certainty of daily distractions, Omnicell recognizes the all-important role that recall plays in helping nurses achieve the Five Rights of Medication Administration. That’s why we are arming nurses with the integral tools for retracing steps whenever the medication pass process is compromised.

Taking ADC workflows a critical step further, Omnicell’s innovative cabinet solutions better equip nurses to manage interference by reminding them which tasks they’ve completed and which ones still need to be done.

Leveraging new and advanced point-of-care workflows, nurses can experience the benefits of increased visibility of overall tasks with features such as “save and quit” and “bag and label,” which provide insight into exactly where they were in a patient’s medication pass process before their attention was diverted. By printing a label that describes completed activity and affixing it to a bag of medications already removed from an ADC, work can commence from the exact point where it left off—minimizing the window for error.

It’s a simple solution to a big problem—one that we’ve identified by partnering with progressive hospitals and health systems across the country. We may not be able to eliminate disruption from a nurse’s day, but we are working to minimize the potential for error, elevate patient safety, and ensure validation of the Five Rights.

For more information about this ADC functionality, visit   

Have a question or comment about mitigating distraction for nurses within your organization? We’d love to hear from you: You can leave us a comment here, or chat with us on Facebook, Twitter (@Omnicell) or LinkedIn.

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