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North Carolina Hospital Identifies Recalled Drugs Via RFID
The UHF solution, provided by Kit Check, enables the CaroMont Regional Medical Center to reduce the time employees spend locating and replacing recalled medications on crash carts, as well as replacing drugs and resealing kits, from more than 20 hours down to about two hours.
Aug 14, 2013—
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) averages between 350 and 375 medication recalls annually—a number that has recently been on the rise, according to Mike Molby, the director of pharmacy services at CaroMont Health's CaroMont Regional Medical Center, who receives and must address such recalls. The majority of these requests, he says—approximately 300 of them—affect the Gastonia, N.C. hospital. With each recall, Molby reports, the hospital's pharmacy must determine if it uses that medicine, and then locate and remove the drug in order to ensure that it is not administered to a patient. In some cases, the medications are stored on crash carts distributed throughout the hospital. Pharmacy personnel must search for those carts, open each sealed kit and then return those kits to the pharmacy to be restocked, resealed and placed back on the cart.Kit Check. The solution consists of Zebra Technologies printers, passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) readers built into a Kit Check scanning station, and UHF EPC RFID tags attached to medications, as well as to the kits in which they are packed. The technology enables users to know if any kits contain recalled drugs, as well as which ones, simply by accessing the Kit Check software. Since the system's installation, Molby reports, it has eliminated the need for workers to manually search each crash cart during a recall, while also ensuring that the identification of recalled medications proceded quickly.
The CaroMont Regional Medical Center is a 435-bed hospital with 96 crash carts containing emergency medical kits, as well as several dozen independent kits at stationary locations, each filled with 20 to 50 medications or other emergency items required by patients in urgent need of treatment for a stroke or some other condition. What makes CaroMont unique, says Kevin MacDonald, Kit Check's co-founder and CEO, is the speed at which the hospital deployed the system: The facility's pharmacy had tagged the majority of medications used in the kits within only about two days.
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