Best practices for using Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADC) during COVID-19

Best practices for using Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADC) during COVID-19

Capsa Healthcare

The global pandemic has caused an unprecedented surge in hospitalized patients and is requiring medical professionals to change their Automated Dispensing Cabinet protocols and workflows. Take a look at our tips below to help you prevent cross-contamination, secure COVID-19 medications and PPE, return medications to the pharmacy, and maintain overall safe practices. These helpful suggestions apply to any automated medication cabinet including Capsa’s NexsysADC and smaller countertop 4T.

Accessing the ADC

  1. Always follow a “clean hands” approach when interacting with the ADC. Whether you are wearing gloves or not you should be cleaning your hands before and after accessing the ADC. If gloves are worn, they should be uncontaminated and discarded before leaving the location of the ADC.
  2. It is helpful to store a container of disinfectant near the ADC to allow for easy cleaning and disinfecting of common touch points.

Decreasing traffic and limiting cross-contamination

  1. Restocking your ADC is a necessity but can also be a major cause of traffic. This can be easily remedied by temporarily increasing medication par levels (days of stock) to decrease the frequency of restocking.
  2. Consider training nurses to refill ADCs in addition to retrieving medications from them. The NexsysADC online portal makes this process easy by allowing pharmacists to address all items that need to be restocked (assign quantities, update lot and expiration date). The cabinet will then guide an approved user through the restocking process onsite.
  3. When needed the NexsysADC allows a pharmacy to do a one-to-one exchange of fully stocked CAMs and/or medication cassettes. Not only is this process quick and secure, but our patent pending technology assures all access, inventory, and event data are maintained in each CAM and medication bin even during the transfer process.

Checking cabinets for Expired Medications

  1. Since pharmacies have limited access to ADCs, it is good practice to run regular expiration reports. Nurses can then take out ALL of the current stock and replace with the newly provided medications and update the expiration date within the software.
  2. When you are allowed back into a facility it is a good idea to do a full audit of all ADCs checking for: correct medication, size, strength and quantity in each position and adjusting expiration dates as needed.

The above tips are applicable for any automated dispensing cabinet system, including Capsa Healthcare’s NexsysADC. Since the pandemic’s onset, Capsa has installed hundreds of NexsysADC units across the United States and Canada, and for good reason.

For LTC facilities with restricted access due to COVID-19, pharmacy providers may be challenged to deliver Stat/1st doses or properly maintain controlled medications. The manual tackle box “E-Kit” has high potential for cross-contamination and no tracking-tracing. NexsysADC lessens the dependence on courier deliveries, promotes social distancing, and ensures patients receive medications exactly when needed.

Read more: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services modified and clarified life safety requirements, from McKnights Long-Term Care News: