Introducing automated drug dispensing systems on ICUs may have a high return on investment for hospitals.
A hospital in France assessed the economic impact of automated-drug dispensing systems in three surgical intensive care units (ICUs). These systems were implemented in each unit to replace traditional floor stock approaches. Costs before and after implementation were assessed in terms of floor stock inventories, expired drugs and time spent by nurses and pharmacy technicians on medication-related work . After automated systems were introduced, nurses spent less time on medication-related activities, saving an average of 15 hours per 33 beds. However, pharmacy technicians spent more time on stocking activities, with an average of 3.5 extra hours per day across the three ICUs. The cost of drug storage reduced by 44,298 euro and the cost of expired drugs reduced by 14,772 euro per year across the three ICUs. The hospital continued to see savings over a five year period.
Full reference: Chapuis C. et al. Automated drug dispensing systems in the intensive care unit: a financial analysis. Critical Care. 2015. 19 318