Generosity repeats itself as the Hospital expands its fleet of medication dispensing cabinets

It was nearly twenty years ago that generous donors to the Partners for Better Health campaign enabled Guelph General Hospital to invest in what was a new standard in medication safety – automated medication dispensing cabinets.

Those machines have been workhorses, but they are now at end of life with parts and service no longer available as of December 2021. Replacing them was an urgent priority.

Thankfully, our caring community responded generously once again, enabling our Hospital to replace and expand its entire fleet of automated medication dispensing cabinets. Twenty-eight new cabinets have been purchased with close to $2.2 million in funds donated to the Together, We Care fundraising campaign.

These cabinets replace the existing ones, plus, for the first time, the Hospital will have one in its Diagnostic Imaging Department, and a new cabinet with highly specialized medications in the Trauma Room within the Linamar Emergency Department.

Managing medications is a critical part of patient care—you can’t afford to waste time or make mistakes. These cabinets create a smarter, safer and simpler process for getting the right medication to the right patient, helping to improve the patient medication and healthcare experience.

This means less time spent by nurses acquiring and managing medications, so they have more time to care for patients at the bedside.

“It’s about having the right medications in the right places throughout the hospital so that nurses can access them quickly when they need them,” explained Lori Hayden, RPhT, Pharmacy Project Lead, GGH.

The new cabinets are better than their predecessors because they have greater storage capacity and better reporting and tracking capabilities. The movement of medications from pharmacy through the hospital to the patient can be tracked.

With barcode reading capability, the new cabinets also support the Hospital’s most significant medication safety initiative, which included transforming the manual and labour intensive paper-based prescribing-dispensing-administration processes into one that is entirely electronic.

What’s more, the 2016 donor-funded software upgrade that allowed nurses to queue up their medications from any computer, rather than at the cabinet will also be supported, reducing line-ups and wasted time during peak medication dispensing periods.

The first twelve of the new cabinets arrived in August, including the ones designated for the two new locations which will be operational in October. The rest will be in use before the end of the year. “Donor investments in technology like this help us provide quicker, better and safer diagnosis and treatment, improved outcomes and patient comfort,” said Suzanne Bone, CEO of The Foundation of GGH. “There’s no question that donors help save lives and improve health every day at Guelph General Hospital, and we are so grateful.”

Photo caption: Chelsea Harris RPhT, Pharmacy Department, GGH stands beside medication cabinets that she is preparing for use.