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High-Volume Unit Dose Packaging

October 28, 2008
by root
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While most feel that bar coding at the unit level is a great idea, the devil's in the execution

KLAS SAYS:Given that barcode labels are not required for unit doses of drugs, what solutions are available to ensure the integrity of the medication administration process from the shipments with barcode labels to unit dose medications? Is there an ROI for the organizations that adopt a high-volume unit dose packaging system? What successes and challenges have healthcare providers reported in adopting unit dose packaging products? Do these systems positively impact patient care?

KLAS interviewed 138 healthcare provider professionals regarding the experiences they are having with their unit dose packaging system and vendor. Three vendors are included in the main body of this study: AmerisourceBergen Technology Group (ABTG), McKesson, and Talyst. In addition, early performance data on Omnicell and Swisslog is included with the full version (190 pages) of this report.


ABTG — Finished first in a tough market segment. Client feedback suggests that the ABTG product is mechanically superior to others on the market. Despite pockets of excellent service, overall consistency of support needs to be improved.

McKesson — Service, though adequate, often is not able to compensate for the lack of integration with related McKesson software and equipment. Clients look for improved product functionality and an improved business relationship with the vendor.

Omnicell — The variance in reported scores for the Omnicell packager was enormous, with some sites reporting great successes and others reporting deep frustrations.

Swisslog — While PillPick does not make sense for all hospitals due to cost and complexity, Swisslog customers report that this can be a great solution for large, complex pharmacies.

Talyst —Advanced features such as Smart Chip-equipped canisters aid clients in streamlining packaging efforts, but a poor implementation and overall high cost of ownership stemming from needed maintenance already have some clients looking at alternative solutions.



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Healthcare Informatics 2008 November;25(11):18