One of the best parts of my job is working with customers and hearing their success stories. I especially like to hear our customer stories detailing the value of our medication management solutions, software, and services and how technology has helped their institutions increase safety, reduce errors, and save money.
Talyst has been a long-time partner of UK HealthCare. UK HealthCare encompasses four hospitals, a mental health facility, and dozens of clinics. The system employs 9,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals focused on providing “the most advanced, most effective care available, not just in Kentucky but anywhere.” Here at Talyst, we are proud to be their partner in meeting this challenge.
With such a large healthcare system, serving 850 patients per day and handling 1 million clinic visits per year on average, processes aren’t just important; they are mission critical. UK HealthCare, like most healthcare facilities, was struggling with manual processes that were slow, inefficient, and error-prone.
Dr. Gary Johnson, Chief of the Pharmacy Office at UK HealthCare, set out with a goal beyond automating processes: His goal was to “get the pharmacy out of the basement,” turning it into a profit center and a contributor to patient care. His vision was to make the pharmacy system financially stable, efficient, and effective.
UK Healthcare identified the following opportunities for cost savings in inventory, labor, and time:
- The pharmacy system was managing 2,000-3,000 drugs on average—that’s a yearly spend of roughly $175 million, so inventory control was imperative. Yet inventory on hand numbers were unreliable and that led to expensive over-ordering as a result.
- Pharmacists were too involved in the process of filling medication orders rather than working with patients. This was a poor, and expensive use of their time.
- Manual processes were slow, error-prone, and required a good deal of human intervention, adding costs and running the risk of impacting patient safety.
As a new hospital was being built, the time was right to set up a new inpatient pharmacy system that would work across the main hospital, as well as the other smaller hospitals, clinics and facilities where pharmacy was tasked with managing remote stock medications – over 50 locations in all!
UK HealthCare tapped Talyst for six AutoCarousel HD vertical carousels. Five of the carousels were installed in hospitals and one 1 carousel was installed for a UK Healthcare managed retail location. AutoCarousel HD provides heavy-duty, secure automated storage for medications. It organizes medications and reduces the storage footprint. Coupled with AutoPharm® Enterprise software, it plays a key role in automating the order-filling process, increasing efficiency and reducing errors. The AutoCarousels work together with a pharmacy information system, a robot for IV mixing, ADUs for hospital doors, bedside barcoding software, and an electronic medical records system.
“Our five AutoCarousels dramatically improved inpatient medication management, including drug distribution, inventory optimization, patient safety, Pyxis replenishment, medication cart maintenance, and technician staffing patterns,” said Dr. Johnson.
UK HealthCare’s approach was to set up an internal distribution system, with each facility sending orders to one hospital, and deliveries made every day. The hospitals keep a 5-day supply, while other locations keep only a 1-2 day supply. This “Just In Time” method of inventory replenishment is much more closely controlled, and the drug supplier has only one stop to make, saving significant costs.
UK HealthCare has taken the process one step further, establishing relationships with distributors and manufacturers to negotiate better pricing based on aggregating volume from multiple facilities into one order through AutoPharm® Enterprise software.
The results with increased workflow efficiencies supported by the new system have been extraordinary across the board, especially considering the number of locations and volume of meds and patients served by Pharmacy Services at UK HealthCare:
- Dispensing errors were reduced by 75%
- Inventory costs were cut by $1 million and continue to stay low
- Prescription order processing time has been drastically reduced – from 3 hours to 90 minutes
- Pharmacy techs can now fulfill orders, so pharmacists are free to participate in treatment teams and able to fully utilize their skills. They make daily rounds and are responsible for determining dosing and when to stop a medication. This saves money and improves patient care.
- UK Healthcare can now be more proactive in transition of care, with the goal to reduce or prevent re-admissions.
- Retail pharmacy, which operates in only 500 square feet but fills 250-300 prescriptions per day, has particularly benefitted from the small footprint and organization offered by the AutoCarousel HD.
Our mission at Talyst is simple but powerful. We are committed to…
Improving healthcare with innovative medication management systems, software, and services to help caregivers serve patients
With an intelligent, innovative approach, backed by a best-of-breed solution with Talyst playing a key role, UK HealthCare not only continues to set the pace for quality care, but also has demonstrated how much can be accomplished when the pharmacy is empowered to realize its full potential.
You can download the full Talyst UK HealthCare case study at our website.