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CUHK Medical Centre Realizes Savings, Efficiency Gains with Medicine Dispensing Cart (MDC)


2022-01-03 22:06:20

The CUHK Medical Centre (CUHKMC) is a non-profit, private teaching hospital wholly owned by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). It started operating last January and has been steadily opening up various facilities and introducing new services in phases.

Smart Hospital has a Social Mission

In Hong Kong, there exists a huge gap between the private and public healthcare systems. With a social mission to bridge the gap, CUHKMC is dedicated to introduce an innovative model of care, which offers high quality service at affordable and transparent package prices.

“As a non-profit private teaching hospital, we will also assume a major role in promoting medical innovation and training medical professionals.  With a team united in its purpose and with solid support from the community, we will be able to achieve our mission of ‘Pioneering Solutions in Healthcare’.” said Dr. Chien Lee, chairman of the board of directors at CUHK Medical Centre, during the opening ceremony.

By next year, the medical centre aims to put in service all its 516 inpatient beds 28 operating rooms and 56 consultation rooms – with the goal of helping alleviate the overburdened hospital system in Hong Kong.

Zero-Error Medication Management

As the brand-new CUHK Medical Centre moved in stages towards full operating mode, the second phase would see the start of in-patient services, including the opening of general wards, a paediatric ward, a day surgery centre and main pharmacy.

This marks another key milestone for what was set to be Hong Kong’s first “smart hospital”, specifically designed to make full use of the latest advances in IT for every aspect of diagnosis, treatment, nursing care, support services and day-to-day management.

Especially in inpatient wards, caregivers were struggling to balance quality patient care with medication safety and operational challenges. As they move from one place to another, error existed such as picking the wrong drug items or quantity for the patient; restocking the wrong item to the storage compartment; or even picking the correct item but the wrong dosage etc. Even if hospital was strict and penalize the users for these errors, they happened from time to time due to negligence or various other reasons.

“Automation plays an essential role in bringing new levels of efficiency in ward’s operations” says CUHKMC chief executive officer Dr Fung Hong. “So we call for an automated medication dispensing system to enhance drug safety through closed loop medication management system.

Having studied the hospital’s challenges, NuboMed came up with a medication automation solution that streamlined its medication distribution workflow.

Automation Improves Productivity & Ensures Safety

Rather than the traditional medical cart, NuboMed proposed our IoT-connected Medicine Dispensing Cart (MDC) to be deployed in the inpatient ward, which provides unit-dose storage and dispensing of patient medication.

“From a medication safety point of view, the system can minimize human error in medication management. With the QR code verification, we can ensure the right drug will be given to the right patient at the right time,” said Helen Ho, pharmacy director at CUHK Medical Centre, pointing out that all the medication’s information can be accessed by scanning QR codes on the packages.

To further reduce the medication error occur in the hospital wards, nurses scan the code on a patient’s wristband and verify the medication and patient information to unlock the corresponding medicine bin on the cart at patient’s bedside.

Meanwhile, other technologies currently being used in the hospital includes the paperless electronic medical record, mobile information and communication technology.

After months of trial operations, Medicine Dispensing Cart (MDC) is steadily running with positive results. The average daily medical working time were significantly reduced by 75% and the incident of adverse events such as medical accidents related to medication error as well as missed billing decreased by 80%. Overall, CUHK Medical Centre is the first smart hospital in Hong Kong to pioneer closed-loop solutions in healthcare - that, if successful - will be replicated in other local hospitals.

“CUHK Medical Center is a Smart Hospital, we have applied various automation systems into our dispensing processes, such as automated dispensing cabinets and intelligent medical carts to achieve closed loop medication management” (Helen HO, Department of Pharmacy CUHK Medical Center, Hongkong)

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