August 28, 2020

New Safety Feature from Omnicell

Omnicell regularly monitors safe medication practices worldwide to ensure best practice processes and latest technology for ADC functionality and configurations. Based on a recommendation from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), Omnicell has added an important new safety enhancement to the cabinet XT series, available for customers using versions 24.0 and later.

Based on a series of adverse incidents, ISMP1 now recommends that the number of characters required when searching for a drug name be increased to reduce medication selection errors. ISMP Guidelines2 recommend that in medication search function using quick search functionality, a minimum of five characters is now recommended as best practice. As a solution, Omnicell has updated the drug search and filter configuration in its software to match these requirements.

Omnicell’s current functionality allows users to use a quick search function by starting to type the first few letters of a drug name. The available drugs in the list refine further with each character typed until the user finds and selects the correct drug. As highlighted by ISMP, there is a significant risk that only getting “near” can result in drug selection errors by the user. For example, entering “met” has led to confusion between metFORMIN, methadone, methotrexate, methylphenidate, metOLazone and metroNIDAZOLE.3 For further information, refer to ISMP for specific case study information emphasising the need for this improved safety feature.

Omnicell has now implemented a configurable letter search for drugs removed from Omnicell cabinets. This solution is available for automated dispensing cabinets with Color Touch software, with OC version 24.0 and above.

In view of this, hospitals are now able to configure the settings for each cabinet that require users to enter the first five characters of a drug name before results are populated in the search field. For more precise results, the search only displays the items that exactly match the letters entered. For example, when the search was configured to enter two letters and a user entered MO, all medications starting with MO were displayed. When five characters are required, and the user enters MORPH, the search results must match all five characters to be an option in the results.

Customers that wish to configure a broader search can adjust the settings to a lower character requirement. Options are 1-5 letters.

  • Default character limit: 1
  • Recommended character limit: 5

This response by Omnicell to ISMP recommendations, highlights our focus on improving patient safety by reducing medicating errors. We strongly encourage all users of Omnicell ADCs to give due consideration to this new recommendation by ISMP and ensure their cabinet configurations are set to provide maximum safety guidance to their users.

1 , page 8

2 Guidelines for the Safe Use of Automated Dispensing Cabinets, ISMP, page 9, statement 4.4

3 ISMP Guidelines for Safe Electronic Communication of Medication Information, page 5, statement 19

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