Medication Distribution Models

August 2021 - Vol.18 No. 8 - Page #48
Category: Automated Dispensing Cabinets

Over the past decade, hospital pharmacy has continued to move away from a centralized distribution approach in favor of the point-of-care model that relies heavily on ADCs. Given the significant undertaking that such a change requires, it is no surprise that the move to point-of-care distribution is slow but steady.

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Definitions

Centralized: 80% or more of inpatient beds receive medications from the central pharmacy and/or robot/carousel is the main dispensing platform to unit dose carts

Decentralized, supported by satellite pharmacy: 80% or more of inpatient beds receive medications from satellite pharmacies and/or ADCs restocked from satellite pharmacies

Point-of-care model: 80% or more of inpatient beds receive medications from ADCs on the patient unit, which are restocked from central pharmacy

Hybrid: a combination of dispensing methods, meeting none of the conditions above


Point-of-care distribution maintains its role as the preferred method of distribution, followed respectively by centralized and hybrid approaches.

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Interestingly, facilities of all sizes predict very similar approaches to medication distribution over the next 5 years, although the hybrid model is projected to be slightly more popular among the largest facilities.

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A variety of devices are required for efficient medication distribution. While most facilities have a strong reliance on ADCs, efficient distribution requires augmentation with additional approaches. Pneumatic tubes, COWs, couriers, and medication carts all play an important role in supplementing medication delivery to the floors.

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