”eMED ICON automated dispensing cabinet is a user innovation”

Published 29th of May 2015

The operating rooms, recovery ward, intensive care units and C-section rooms of Kaari Hospital are the first in Finland to begin using electronic eMED ICON smart medicine cabinets. More than 200 KUH nurses studied the protomodel of the cabinet and provided feedback on its key functions. According to Head Dispenser Minna Kurttila, the smart medicine cabinet is a user innovation that aims to enhance medicine supply and medication as well as improve accuracy and patient safety.

How would you describe the project?

This has been a multifaceted journey, because developing something new has been rewarding and laborious at the same time. The end users have been involved in developing the functions of the e-medicine cabinet, so the cabinet is tailored to our needs in a highly customer-oriented way. Time pressure due to the construction of the new hospital has given rise to challenges along the way.

What innovative properties does the new smart medicine cabinet contain? 

The cabinet comes with a user-friendly data system. For example, it guides the user through medicine removal, because it is connected to automatic medicine recognition. In addition, we proposed that the cabinets are placed within the wall structures of operating rooms using a pass-through method. The cabinets are filled outside the operating or treatment room, and medicines are administered on the other side, which reduces action around the patient. All the necessary medicines and the required apparatuses for handling them on a ward have also been gathered into the same cabinets, so that nurses do not have to fetch them from different places.

How does the use of smart medicine cabinets change work on wards?

Many working methods will change. For instance, each medicine package that is removed from a cabinet will be documented by scanning its barcode. Medicines cannot simply be administered, which nurses may find laborious at first. However, pilots carried out last year showed that scanning the barcode and recording the removal of a medicine hardly slowed down the process at all. Scanning the barcode of a product provides verification that the right medicine has been selected and recording the removal guarantees that the cabinet always contains the required volumes of medicine as the system manages storage control. User recognition before medicine removal also brings added value to resolving any unclear cases.