Prepare Your Medical Personnel for COVID-19 with Controlled Dispensing Solutions for EMS and Pharmaceuticals

IDS’ UCapIt allows your EMS and medical personnel to safely and securely access emergency medical supplies, narcotics, and life saving medical equipment

As COVID-19 continues to spread, it is essential to provide EMS, first responders, and hospital personnel with PPE supplies and processes to best protect themselves while not compromising the ability to provide life-saving medical treatment to patients when every second counts. This is especially important as EMS agencies, fire stations, hospitals and other critical care medical organizations’ resources are being strained due to the influx in demand related to surging numbers of COVID-19 patients. 

As a part of protecting personnel from the risk of exposure or transmission to COVID-19, it is more important now than ever before to ensure that medical supplies are being handled by as few people as possible.  While it is impossible to eliminate face-to-face interactions when providing emergency medical treatment to patients, it is possible to limit face-to-face interactions internally and reduce the handling of critical supplies.

Why is this so critical?  According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifespan of the Coronavirus can vary, based on different surfaces and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to three days. 

  • Airborne: 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Cardboard: 24 hours
  • Stainless Steel: 2 days
  • Plastic: 3 days  

Intelligent Dispensing Solutions provides controlled dispensing solutions, specifically for EMS, PPE and pharmaceuticals through its brand UCapIt.  UCapIt offers a contactless transaction experience through controlled dispensing to allow EMS staff, hospital personnel and first responders to easily access emergency medical supplies without direct, face-to-face interaction with other staff members.

Today agencies are tasked with ensuring they have an urgent plan of action regarding EMS narcotics in place while being faced with the fear of a drug shortage and PPE shortages. The need for inventory management is more crucial than ever before. With COVID-19 having up to a three-day lifespan on supplies, the above CDC guidelines have prompted many emergency medical and health care organizations to re-evaluate the use of supply closets as a means to store and access critical supplies.  

Unlike open supply closets, in which multiple staff members can access and return EMS supplies and medical equipment, controlled dispensing through UCapIt’s dispensers and supply lockers control which staff members have access to what items. Plus, the staff member’s credentials must be verified for access before the supply is dispensed and the employee is able to touch the item.  This verification is especially important for controlled substances and provides a method for organizations to comply with FDA and DEA regulations.  

Conversely, in an open supply closet setting, many people before you may have picked up medical disposables and put it back on the shelf.  With controlled dispensing, your supplies are at a much lower risk of contamination by being handled by fewer individuals and you don’t have to worry about unauthorized users accessing controlled substances.

Another advantage to IDS’ UCapIt solution is the ability to limit access to products for a certain period of time to ensure that any virus transfer or contamination risk is eliminated. For instance, a staff member can fill the supply dispenser or locker and then place the selection or compartment out of service until a specified date/time.  Plus, IDS supply dispensers offer first-in-first-out loading (FIFO). This ensures the newest supplies loaded into the machine will not be dispensed until the older supplies in that selection have been dispensed, which further reduces any risks due to transfer on the supplies.  

In addition, the FIFO loading reduces costs due to expired supplies such as narcotics.  In fact, many of UCapIt’s customers have experienced a decrease in loss of expired products of more than 30% in the first year of implementation. For many fire stations, hospital personnel and EMS organizations, this equates to big dollars that can be reallocated to other priorities and initiatives within the organization.

“With the UCapIt system, we are able to have a tighter inventory control on our medications, minimize the loss through the expiration of the medication, and limit the amount of downtime and out of service time our units encompassed with restocking,” said Dan Lottes of Washington DC Fire/EMS.

Another advantage of IDS’ UCapIt solution is the real-time data and reporting capability through its proprietary iQ Technology software.  iQ Technology allows administrators to track who accessed what item(s), when they accessed the item(s), and the quantity of the item they accessed.  This chain of custody is critical when identifying and mitigating risks in a crisis situation, as well as is useful on an inventory management basis during normal operating circumstances.

“The cost reduction we realized once we had implemented IDS’ UCapIt solution is a big benefit to our agency.  Plus, we receive notifications for the web service that allows us to track all of our equipment, certifications, and product in real-time. I would recommend UCapIt to other agencies that are looking to reduce costs and efficiently increase their inventory tracking capabilities,” said Rich Tvelia, EMT-CC with Mastic Beach Ambulance Company. 

Having a solution in place to manage and track inventory, reduces an agency’s risk and also protects your most critical assets – your staff members.  It is these individuals that are on the front lines of combating crises such as the global pandemic we are currently facing.  

UCapIt can help.  As you are evaluating and initiating your response plan, we want to help you keep your staff members safe, while providing a solution that reduces product loss due to expiration and provides compliance with FDA and DEA regulations.

For more information about UCapIt’s EMS and pharmaceutical vending machines, contact Intelligent Dispensing Solutions at 1-855-945-0789.