One of the greatest challenges today’s EMS professionals and pharmaceutical managers face is medical product supply management and security. In an EMS organization, it is imperative that systems are in place that not only saves you money but also saves you time, especially when lives are on the line. Many organizations across the United States have become creative and turned to UCapIt to help save them both time and money within their organization.
“The cost reduction we realized once we had implemented IDS’ UCapIt solution is a big benefit to us,” says Rich Tvella of Mastic Beach Ambulance Company. “We spend less time doing the manual count and the paperwork to keep track of the physical inventory.”
With UCapIt you can take back control of your inventory by providing a safer, smarter, and more secure way to accurately assess and track your employee’s usage. Through iQ Technology, our EMS supply vending machines and supply lockers maintain controlled access to pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, meticulously track inventory, and allow instant access to all records.
“UCapit’s reports tell me what I need to know, how many are expiring, where they are located and the name of the medication. I really like that I can run the report for 90 or more days because I order replacement medications 3-4 months in advance, plus my regular stock…so I know I won’t run out. Now instead of having to do a count by hand at the end of the month, I check them in when I receive them and simply run the reports I need.”
IDS’ UCapIt provides controlled supply dispensing solutions for emergency medical service organizations including hospitals and fire stations. IDS’ UCapIt solutions allow organizations to secure EMS and narcotics, restrict access by user credentials or product classification, track inventory in real-time, and maintain full accountability and compliance with FDA and DEA regulations.
iQ Technology, the brain behind the UCapIt system, allows EMS organizations to track inventory and alert managers when the supply is running low. This ensures that EMS organizations do not have to scramble to find the supply they need.
Tim Barnett of Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority says, “Previously if a unit ran out of a specific supply, they would have to make a trip to central supply to restock. With the UCapIt vending machines and lockers in place, they have immediate access. Budget numbers indicate we’re under budget in medical supplies and medications compared to this time a year ago.”
Inventory can be managed anytime, anywhere with UCapIt and iQ Technology. Additionally, managers have the ability to see who is accessing what items, when and where they are being accessed.
UCapIt allows you to be as transparent as you want within your organization. To find out more about the UCapIt EMS and medical inventory management solution, call 1-877-771-4446.
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.
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 medical PPE vending 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 supply vending machines, contact Intelligent Dispensing Solutions at 1-877-771-4446.
Biomedical vending machines are becoming increasingly common in healthcare settings around the country, the Student Government at the University of California in Santa Barbara are taking Medical vending machines to a higher level. As explained by Nathan Rubbelke, student government leaders at UCSB have approved the purchase of a medical contraceptive vending machine that will dispense condoms, lube, tampons, pregnancy tests, and the morning-after pill, Plan B. However, this action raises a few interesting questions, and students need to understand how this machine will sexual health on campus.
What Triggered the Installation of the Plan B Vending Machine?
College life is hectic, and accessing items for reproductive health can be challenging for students. Although many of these items are accessible through the Health and Wellness program at UCSD, students need a way to access these items on weekends. This medical vending machines will provide access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which is excellent for students who may not be able to access in-office resources do to work or school schedules.
Without the machine, students who have unprotected sex early in the weekend, such as Friday night, would be unable to obtain Plan B from Student Health until Monday. By installing this machine, student government leaders also seek to resolve another problem. On occasion, nearby pharmacies and Planned Parenthood may run out of Plan B, and students need to have access to the contraceptive as soon as possible.
Is This the First Time Plan B Has Been Offered Through a Pharmaceutical Vending Machine?
In 2010, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania installed a similar vending machines with the purpose of dispensing Plan B on campus. Little interest centered around the vending machine for two years, but the Food and Drug Administration began to look into the matter in 2012. Eventually, the FDA declined to take any action on the matter, and the college continued to sell Plan B from the vending machine.
What About Opposition to the Pharmaceutical Vending Machine?
There are opponents to the dispensing of Plan B in a vending machine. In fact, the president of the Anscombe Society at UCSB has expressed severe criticism over the very idea of installing a pharmaceutical vending machine with contraceptive items. While this sentiment emphasizes the group’s focus on maintaining sexual purity, students are already accessing Plan B through other measures, and this vending machine will simplify the needs of UCSB’s students who have been in the situation of finding an after-hours option for contraception.
The face of the pharmaceutical vending machine industry is changing. Once, mild pain relievers, mouthwash, and simple over-the-counter medications were available in vending machines. Now, female students can take a stronger role in ensuring their reproductive health with a medical vending machine, such as those designed by Intelligent Dispensing Solutions, to access over-the-counter Plan B when other means of obtaining the medication are unavailable.
Over the last few years, you’ve no doubt gotten used to the fact that vending machines are no longer just a source for soft drinks and salty snacks. You’ve probably purchased at least one electronic device from a vending machine in an airport, or have at least seen someone do so. You’ve maybe even used a DVD vending machine or gotten your morning paper in much the same way. Now, providers are taking things to the next level by offering prescription dispenser units and other medical vending machine options.
Arizona State University’s Prescription Medication Vending Machine
In 2014, Arizona State University became one of the first educational institutions in the country to install a prescription dispenser on campus. Located in the Health Services Building, this unit was designed to help both make sure that people had quick and easy access to the medical supplies that they needed and to increase efficiency within that organization at the exact same time.
The medical vending machine was designed to fill the medical prescriptions of both students and university employees at a moment’s notice. By using a voucher with identifying information that itself is tied to a very specific code, any doctor could prescribe medication to a patient that could then be picked up at the vending machine within 24 hours.
This advancement couldn’t have come at a better time, too, as the pharmacy at Arizona State University closed just a few weeks prior. Thanks to the prescription dispenser, people were able to continue getting the service they needed without transferring to other pharmacies or seeing any other type of negative impact at all.
At its launch, the prescription medication vending machine offered the 50 medications that were most commonly prescribed to students on campus. Based on the type of software that the machine was powered with, this could change on a regular basis as trends did. If a new medication were to creep into that top 50, it would be added to the list and something that was less likely to be prescribed would be removed.
UCapIt is just one example of a company that is offering controlled access pharmaceutical dispensing options to healthcare organizations around the world on a daily basis. UCapIt solutions are armed with state-of-the-art software that allows not only for instant recording whenever a purchase is made, but also for things like detailed reporting, the tracking of who has access to which types of supplies, advanced inventory management capabilities and more.
This is just one example of the many ways that medical vending machine technology is positively impacting the lives of people all over the world on a daily basis. For students at Arizona State University, they found the process of filling a prescription was easier than ever before. It’s easy to picture a time not too far from now where these types of medical vending solutions are rolled out beyond college campuses and are located in drug stores, pharmacies and other locations across the world.
Drug diversion is an incredibly serious issue that is affecting a huge number of medical facilities across the country. According to a survey conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 2014, drug abuse among those in the general population runs at around 5% annually. The theory is that the number will actually be higher for medical professionals like pharmacy employees, however, because they have convenient access to the drugs that they seek. Now, many organizations are turning to technological advancements to help take back control in their hospital pharmacies once and for all.
The technology that is commonly employed to combat this type of issue involves a machine called an automated dispensing cabinet. Not only do hospitals and other facilities get the convenience that is associated with a medical vending machine, but they also have different layers of security to help deter drug theft and keep criminals at bay. Certain machines can have up to five different authorized access levels, for example, allowing employees instant access to only the products and items that are relevant to do their jobs on a daily basis. All relevant employee information can be recorded for each transaction, keeping a detailed record of who is checking out which item at what time.
One example of an organization that is using this type of technology to curb drug diversion and theft issues is UCapIt. With UCapIt’s Controlled Access Pharmaceutical Dispenser, for example, all transactions between an employee and a machine are individually tracked and reported. Not only does this help medical facilities keep a better eye on their inventory and alert them to situations where orders may need to be placed, but it also inserts a new level of accountability into the equation. If you always know who is checking out items, you know exactly who to turn to in the event that something goes missing.
With UCapIt’s solutions, EMS professionals can instantly check their hospital pharmacy inventory 24 hours a day, seven days a week – even from remote locations. Some of the security measures that are in place on these devices include fingerprint readers, barcode scanners, proximity card readers, unique PIN numbers and more.
Though drug theft is a major issue at many hospitals and pharmacies around the country, companies like UCapIt are doing everything in their power to put technology to good use and ward off criminals once and for all. With automated dispensing solutions and additional layers of security, organizations won’t have to worry about these types of issues much longer.
One of the many positive attributes of the Student Health Center at ASU has to do with how forward-thinking the people that run it actually are. Not only does it allow students to make appointments on the Internet, but it also features both pharmaceutical vending machines and advanced medical procedures that are not available in any other similar location in the area.
Despite this, however, a recent study that was conducted realized that the ASU Student Health Center is still not living up to the demands of the students that actually go there, regardless of how advanced the facility may be on paper.
One of the many issues that students from ASU have to deal with involves longer than average wait times for the services they need, even if they’ve used the online portal to make the necessary appointment ahead of time. The director of the facility, Allan Markus, indicated that this was a problem with the building’s construction and had nothing to do with staffing or other types of services offered. The building was last expanded in 1969, he says, and simply does not offer the space required to meet up with the demands of the expanding school around it.
Things have not improved very much for the students since 2011. According to StatePress.com, the average appointment for a non-specialist is usually averaging around four days. More than that, the average time that a student has to wait to register for an appointment at all can be over an hour and a half in some extreme circumstances.
The facility is also in something of a Catch-22 situation. All modifications to the center are handled via fees that are billed to student accounts. Because there are too many students to handle, the quality of the service that the students are literally paying for by way of tuition is suffering as a result. At that point, it becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy that is hard to break away from.
One of the ways in which ASU Student Health Center officials could relieve many of these issues, however, has to do with wider adoption of medical vending machines across the facility. College medical vending machines are a great way to automate certain processes that used to take a great deal of time, money and energy to see through. If a student was coming into the facility to fill a prescription, for example, they wouldn’t necessarily have to wait in such a long line in order to do so.
Medical vending machines can also be a great boost to the staff, as they provide easy access to the important types of equipment that they are likely to use while treating students on a daily basis.
The pharmacy at Penn State University’s Student Health Center has employed a robot lovingly named “Rex” to do everything from count pills to fill prescription bottles by way of automated pharmaceutical inventory control.
Rex is officially known as a “collating control center robotic prescription-dispensing machine,” which is essentially an automated medical vending machine on a much larger scale. Doris Guanowsky, the senior associate director at University Health Services at Penn State, says that this is exactly the type of technological innovation that is allowing them to serve and care for a greater number of people with each passing day. Rex is currently being used to fill the prescriptions of employees, students, retirees and everyone in between.
Guanowsky indicated that it is not common for a university to have this type of technology at all, let alone working in the Student Health Center. However, the huge volume of patients and prescriptions that the Center is responsible necessitated this emphasis on the best that modern technology has to offer. Over the 2013 to 2014 season alone, University Health Services filled more than 163,000 prescriptions. To put that into slightly different terms, that equates to between 600 and 1,000 prescriptions each and every day.
Filling a prescription is a lot more than just putting pills into a bottle. Patients have to be communicated with, insurance claims need to be properly filed, labels need to be printed en masse and more. By automating a large portion of these processes and delegating that responsibility to Rex, the Center is not only able to keep costs down but can also turn over a higher number of prescriptions per day.
In many ways, a college pharmacy vending machine solution like Rex is powered on similar technology to the type that UCapIt has been incorporating into its solutions for over 80 years. UCapIt provides a wide range of different technological solutions that healthcare providers depend on daily. The CAP 5, for example, allows healthcare professionals to have complete control over the dispensing of the widest variety of products and medical supplies. The CAP 5 Refrigerated adds in the ability to control an environment’s climate, increasing the total number of items that can be stored based on those conditions.
One thing is for sure: between the solutions that UCapIt provides and the ways in which medical centers like the one at Penn State are embracing modern technology, everyone is benefiting – from patients to healthcare practitioners and everyone in between.
An average U.S. adult takes more than 11 prescription medications, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and senior citizens fill more than 31 prescriptions annually. The need for prescriptions contributes to the high cost of medical care, but some companies have found a way to circumvent the middle man.
Pharmaceutical dispensing machines for stable patients receiving prescriptions for diagnosed illnesses is becoming a cost and time-saving solution. This prescription dispenser machine allows consumers to pick up prescriptions after hours, which can be helpful for busy individuals and families to avoid long lines and lengthy conversations in the traditional pharmacy.
The process for filling a prescription at a healthcare medical vending machine is not much different compared with a traditional pharmacy prescription. A consumer phones a pharmacy to order a prescription. A pharmacist fills the prescription and adds it to a prescription dispenser machine where a consumer can pick it up, using a passcode, and paying with a credit or debit card.
Other pharmaceutical vending machines will accept prescriptions from the patient. These prescription dispensing machines are used overseas and in the U.S., which can be advantageous for busy hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and rural communities that have less access to medical care. Pharmaceutical supplies can also be among the vending machine products.
Some pharmacy dispensing machine companies require the patient to speak with a pharmacist by video phone before the prescription can be dispensed.
While the traditional pharmacist is helpful in the cases when a patient is prescribed a new, unfamiliar drug, because she can help explain potential side effects and discuss any concerns, a familiar drug obtained by refill may not require the human interaction element. Bypassing it with a pharmaceutical dispenser machine can save time and money, and improve customer service through a patient-centered model.
Other advantages include removing the barrier to patients feeling empowered to handle health-related matters more independently.
These days, many hospitals and other medical facilities find themselves in a similar predicament regarding the storage and tracking of emergency medical supplies. These supplies may include anything from controlled substances and oxygen tanks to scrubs and uniforms. In many facilities, a hospital manager may need to be present in order for an EMS or other hospital employee to obtain the inventory needed from the facility’s stock. And other inventory tracking systems, such as employee ID logs and card readers, can (and sometimes are) abused.
Fortunately, there is a way for medical facilities these days to keep the controlled substances and other pharmaceutical supplies that they need safely contained and tracked. Specifically, custom vending solutions may be the way to go.
How Do Medical Vending Systems Work?
While on the surface, a vending machine may not seem like the most secure means of dispensing valuable hospital inventory, the fact is that technology has made it possible for these custom vending machines not only to dispense items, but to do so securely.
Specifically, a custom medical vending system can be programmed to work with a medical facility’s existing security measures. Whether the facility relies on employee access codes, card readers, fingerprint readers, or a combination of these, the machine can be designed and programmed to require that same input before dispensing any supplies to the user.
Another great feature of these systems is that each transaction is carefully tracked; therefore, once an item is dispensed, the facility’s inventory is automatically updated to reflect this. If desired, the system can automatically order more inventory when the system determines that the supply of a particular item is low. As a result medical facilities save time and money when they convert to such a system.
Medical Vending Systems and Security
Of course, the ultimate priority of any medical facility dealing with pharmacy inventory (especially controlled substances) is making sure that nothing falls into the wrong hands. Fortunately, custom medical vending systems are more secure than any other system currently available.
Specifically, these systems track, catalog, timestamp, and regulate the dispensing of all supplies. In fact, it’s even possible to set the system up so that a manager receives an automatic e-mail any time inventory is dispensed from the machine. This e-mail can contain information about what was dispensed and who requested it. This not only adds security to the process and cuts down on instances of theft but also saves facilities the time and money required to have a manager on site every time inventory is requested by an employee.
Furthermore, these vending systems are available not only for hospital inventory, but for employee uniforms such as scrubs and other medical retail as well. Whether a medical facility is in need of a few simple vending machines for the cafeteria or something as secure as a controlled substance vending system, the options are available. These automated medical inventory control options can save medical facilities a great deal of money in the long run.
UCapIt uses the latest technology to control inventory access to pharmaceutical supplies, including first aid medical supplies and emergency medical supplies. Ramp up employee accountability and reduce supply waste with state-of-the-art software and hardware solutions.
Software Solutions for Pharmacy Inventory
The Controlled Access Pharmaceutical (CAP) dispenser includes a proximity card reader, bar code scanner, biometric reader, secure networking and real time reporting via the Internet. Its tracking technology works 24/7. Customized usage reports can be set to be sent daily or weekly. This way, pharmacy inventory can be managed, monitored, and tracked. All withdrawals of pharmaceutical supplies are cataloged, time stamped and regulated. In addition, EMS health care workers have immediate access to emergency medical supplies and can restock their units 24/7. Once staff ID is recorded, the CAP dispenser can be programmed to ask for a vehicle number or second ID before dispensing restocked items. Lockers can also be added to record and control access to oxygen, narcotic kits and laptops. Storeroom pharmacy inventory can also be tracked with expiration codes. With its real time reporting feature, usage reports can even be integrated with the company billing software. This software solution is innovative, revolutionary and works 24/7.
Hardware Solutions for Pharmaceutical Supplies
UCapIt offers the CAP 5 and CAP 3 dispensers along with lockers for add-ons that accommodate larger items, such as trip bags and oxygen tanks. Each comes with a refrigerated option to keep pharmaceutical supplies at optimal temperatures for a longer shelf life.
The CAP 5 allows for full control over a wide variety of packages and products. It has an intelligent control system for 24/7 real time reporting of transactions. Constructed of 20 gauge steel with welded seams and internal bracing, it’s built to last and deliver reliable service. Standard LED lighting provides high visibility for dimly lit areas. Multiple interfaces are available, including biometric reader, bar code ID scanner, proximity card reader and pin number. Bulky packages are easy accessible through its extra-large delivery port. The CAP 3 is a smaller version of the CAP 5 with the same great features. Door Lockers are available in three or 12 compartments and different colors like red, white and blue.
All of UCapIt dispensers are engineered for high reliability and easy maintenance. Computer controlled machinery is used for its construction, and each machine is checked for optimal performance before installation.
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