Hospital 17/10/2017

Return on Investment through drug management integrated automation


Return on Investment through drug management integrated automation

Hospitals must focus on the synergy between process of drug logistic chain looking for a real global gain.


At daily hospital routines, one of the great challenges for managers is to increase efficiency and safety on unit drug packaging, storage and dispenses processes. Many hospitals ask for the best management model to be adopted, costs overview, and especially the Return on Investment (ROI) inherent to that decision. This challenge is even greater when it refers to a complex structure, where managers need to orchestrate very well all operations for their several hospital units.
Many ways to promote and guarantee the Return on Investment of this process transformation are frequently part of hospital board discussions. Nowadays automations are being pointed as a solution to solve this question. However, those automations must be integrated not only with hospital information system, but also with other existing technologies in the health environments.

The Annecy-Genevois Hospital Center in France has a success case about an integrated and fully automated management of unit drug packaging, storage and personalization of therapies. The automation brought significant ROI gain for the hospital complex, covering approximately 1,400 beds.
From 2007 to 2013, the hospital has conducted a study by analysing three different drug management models based on processes and human resources.

In the first one, the decision would be to keep totally manual the unit drug conditionnement and dispensing processes;

in the second scenario, only the unit drug conditionnement would be automatized, while the dispensing processes would remain manual;
finally, the third model would have all the steps completely automated.

Comparing the manual scenario with the partial process automation, the result showed up a reduction of 7.5% annual pharmaceutical expenses for the hospital units. In addition, there was registered a significative quality gain close to 100% (20 ppm). However, the complete automation combined with the wide technology culture adoption by the teams involved, would allow a 37% of savings in annual pharmaceutical costs; becoming the model adopted by the hospital.

At the same time as technology generates process improvements, it also reduces errors in the healthcare service - minimizing iatrogenic cases that can enhance costs by wrong drug administration in therapeutic treatments and reaching out 650 thousand euros per year, according to hospital's study. Those improvements also contribute to reduce financial penalties arising from non-compliance of contractual obligations (Contract of Bon Usage), which may total join approximately 1 million euros annually, according to the same survey.
Other advantages are the better use of time from nursing teams and agility in the stock management. This case study also pointed out that the success of evaluated result is directly connected to the effective cultural transformation at people's behavior involved in each phase. Therefore, punctual automations are not the best decision to take. Instead, hospitals must focus on the synergy between all processes from drug logistic chain in order to achieve a real global gain.

When the automation is flexible and modular, it's also possible to get benefits by implementing the technology through stages and phases, in addition to follow eventual changes and evolutions on the organization structure. The hospital project historic mentioned above is made up of an automation initially adopted only at Annecy Hospital Center and a latter expansion after Annecy merger with Genevois Hospital Center, which was performed in 2014. Besides covering new beds demand, the expansion of automation also reached a bigger part of the drug distribution operation, incorporating decentralized logistics processes and increasing the personalized therapy rate from 85% to 95%. The automated management platform from Annecy-Genevois Hospital Center includes robotic and customized solutions from Sinteco, focusing on the unit drug logistic operations. For further information, please, access the Annecy-Genevois Hospital Center's full study on:

For more information, please, visit: the unit dose management system

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