Northeast Georgia Health System partners with McKesson to tackle medication safety challenge

Atlanta 03 December 2001Taking a pro-active approach to patient safety, Northeast Georgia Health System recently signed a $2.25 million contract for McKesson's Horizon Clinicals and AcuDose-Rx supply cabinets. By adding state-of-the-art pharmacy, scanning, clinical documentation, and administration technology to McKesson systems already in place, Northeast Georgia is strengthening its medication safety solution while also maximising existing information technology investments.

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McKesson's comprehensive solution for medication safety integrates robotics, scanning devices, and information technology to help health care organisations reduce medication errors at every step where they occur, such as in prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring. As part of Northeast Georgia's medication safety strategy, the health system will complement McKesson's pharmacy system with the dispensing, scanning, and administration technology of Acu-Dose-Rx, Horizon Admin-Rx, and Horizon Clinical Documentation.

"For some time, and especially since the Institute of Medicine report To Err is Human, we have studied how to improve medication safety and also deliver quantifiable results for the hospital and its patients", stated Tony Herdener, vice president and chief financial officer at Northeast Georgia Health System. "We decided that it would not be good enough to just have an efficient pharmacy system or medication charting. Everything had to be tied together so that anytime a person interacts with an order, there is a system in place to facilitate quality patient care."

"Medication errors take many forms, and you have to be very pro-active in trying to reduce them", added Jan Mackey, director of pharmacy at Northeast Georgia Health System. "We have significantly improved our accuracy in filling nearly 2500 medications daily with McKesson's ROBOT-Rx and are now taking that next step in achieving a true closed-loop medication management system with the Horizon Meds Manager pharmacy solution. While our clinicians are excited about the new products, the people in our community are the real beneficiaries of these enhancements."

McKesson has a 24-year outsourcing relationship with Northeast Georgia in supplying information technology services and solutions. "It is exciting to continue working with Northeast Georgia on medication safety with Horizon Meds Manager and our automated solutions", stated Pamela Pure, group president of development and support for McKesson Information Solutions. "By effectively addressing medication errors, every health care organisation can enhance patient safety and the quality of care while reducing costs."

Part of Horizon Clinicals, McKesson's next-generation of solutions for physicians and other clinicians, Horizon Meds Manager is the industry leading pharmacy system that KLAS Enterprises has rated No. 1 for two consecutive years in terms of performance, value, customer satisfaction, and technology. Now generally available, Release 7.1 features new integration for electronic order processing, adult and paediatric dose range checking, and automatic intervention documentation, enabling pharmacists to better manage medication safety challenges.

Jan Mackey noted that Horizon Meds Manager is "light years ahead of what we have been using. There are things that we have been struggling with manually that we will no longer have to tolerate. And the system is intuitive, which will allow clinicians to quickly and easily learn to use it."

Northeast Georgia Health System is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for the people of northeast Georgia. Led by volunteer boards made up of community leaders, the hospital system serves over 20 counties. All revenue generated above operating income is returned to the community through improved services and new programmes. At the hub of Northeast Georgia Health System is Northeast Georgia Medical Center with two campuses. Together, these facilities make up a 418-bed inpatient, 285-bed skilled nursing system staffed by physicians trained in a variety of medical specialities.


Leslie Versweyveld

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