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NYGH uses RFID to improve pharmacy operations

Edith RolkoTORONTO – North York General Hospital, an innovative community medical centre, is the first hospital in Canada to leverage a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) medication management solution to improve accuracy and efficiency within its pharmacy operations. The hospital has deployed the Intelliguard Kit and Tray Management System from MEPS Real-Time, Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif.

A quality study conducted by North York General Hospital and MEPS Real-Time, Inc., confirmed the hospital’s registered pharmacy technicians were able to achieve 100 percent accuracy when restocking medication trays using the Intelliguard Kit and Tray Management System, reducing medication errors and improving patient safety.

“Improving patient safety is the primary goal of the pharmacy department at North York General Hospital,” said Edith Rolko (pictured), Director of Pharmacy and Infection Prevention and Control. “Our quality study provided quantitative data to show how an automated system for restocking medications can significantly reduce the risk of medication errors and, in turn, improve patient safety.”

She added that the automated Intelliguard Kit and Tray Management System will play an important role in keeping patients safe and improving efficiencies within the pharmacy and clinical areas.

In Canada, the role of a pharmacy technician has expanded to include more technical aspects of drug distribution in a hospital setting. With that in mind, the quality study measured registered pharmacy technicians’ error rates and time to complete the restocking processes with and without an automated system.

With the automated Intelliguard Kit and Tray Management System, technicians were able to achieve 100 percent accuracy in all of the 16 tray studies.

Based on the lowest percentage of tray errors recorded using the current manual method, multiplied over the hospital’s annual tray exchange quantity, it is estimated the Intelliguard Kit and Tray Management System will eradicate a minimum of 2,664 tray errors annually.

“The quality study conducted with North York General Hospital confirms the clear and distinct benefits of using an RFID-based medication management solution to eliminate medication errors in tray restocking and increase staff efficiency within the hospital pharmacy,” said Shariq Hussain, CEO, MEPS Real-Time, Inc.

“Our Intelliguard Kit and Tray Management System provides a fast, accurate, reliable and easy-to-use solution for managing tray restocking so clinicians have access to critical medications when and where they are needed throughout the hospital.”

While staff time savings was not an objective, the quality study also revealed that the Intelliguard Kit and Tray Management System saved between two and 14 minutes per tray processed, depending upon the number of items in each type of tray. On average, time savings per tray equaled 4.9 minutes, totaling an expected 659 hours of annual staff time savings.

About North York General Hospital
North York General Hospital, affiliated with the University of Toronto, is one of Canada’s leading community academic hospitals. It offers a culturally diverse community a wide range of acute care, ambulatory and long-term care services across three sites. Through partnerships, collaboration and academic endeavors, NYGH seeks to set new standards for patient- and family-centered care.

About MEPS Real-Time, Inc. and Intelliguard RFID Solutions for Critical Inventory
Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif., MEPS Real-Time, Inc. (mepsrealtime.com) is a leading innovator of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solutions for pharmacy automation and inventory management. Its suite of Intelliguard RFID Solutions eliminates error-prone manual counting and item-level scanning, improves quality and safety through medication error prevention, and increases staff efficiency through automation. Intelliguard RFID Solutions include Kit and Tray Management, Inventory Management and Vendor Managed Inventory Systems. MEPS Real-Time, Inc. holds nine issued patents and has eight patent applications pending in the United States and one patent and 24 applications in other countries that relate to the aspects of technology used in its products.

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