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Study Finds 100% Accuracy for InstyMeds Automated Prescription Dispensing Systems

Companies mentioned in this article: InstyMeds Corporation

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- (Marketwired) -- 03/12/14 -- InstyMeds Automated Dispensing System achieved a 100% accuracy rate in a cross-sectional study of more than 1,000 medications dispensed at 41 randomly selected sites in 12 states. The study, conducted by an award-winning researcher specializing in dispensing accuracy, found no errors among medications dispensed by InstyMeds compared to a 1.7% error rate - -the equivalent of 5 million errors annually -- among prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies.

"This study demonstrates that a system like InstyMeds, which requires accurate prescriber computer order entry and multiple quality checks before dispensing medications directly to the patient, can achieve a perfect accuracy rate," said Elizabeth Flynn, PhD, RPH, a clinical affiliate associate professor at the University of Florida whose expertise is in the application of ergonomics to prevent medication errors and evaluation of technology for effects on medication errors and efficiency. "The findings were particularly surprising because 100% accuracy was achieved without NASA technology, the cost of which is beyond the reach of most healthcare organizations."

InstyMeds is a fully automated ATM-style prescription medication dispenser that allows patients to fill prescriptions at the point of care, typically hospital emergency departments and urgent care clinics. After a patient has been seen, diagnosed and consulted with a physician, the prescriptions are transmitted to the InstyMeds dispenser via the facility's EMR or the web-based InstyMeds Prescription Writer. The patient is provided with a voucher and code, which is entered into the InstyMeds dispenser after identification verification. Any required insurance co-payment or fee is collected by the dispenser on behalf of the facility and the prescribed medication is released. In addition to consulting with the prescribing provider, patients with questions can access directly from the dispenser the 24-hour InstyMeds Patient Service Center, which is staffed by pharmacy technicians and pharmacists.

InstyMeds dispensers contain the most common medications prescribed by the facility, typically acute medications like pain relievers and antibiotics. The bar-coded medications are packaged in a bar-coded cartridge that tracks drug identity by manufacturer, lot number and expiration date. Inventory levels are monitored and automatically replenished by InstyMeds. Interfaces for real-time patient demographics are used for insurance adjudication. InstyMeds also manages controlled substance reporting, including state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

Dr. Flynn was commissioned to determine the accuracy of prescriptions dispensed from the InstyMeds system. The goal was to have an unbiased comparison of its accuracy to that of a typical pharmacy.

"The question of accuracy is one that we are asked frequently by pharmacists and state Boards of Pharmacy. We knew from our internal quality analysis that our system dispenses prescriptions without error, but it was gratifying to have a renowned expert like Dr. Flynn validate our findings with sound scientific method," said InstyMeds CEO Brad Schraut.

Dr. Flynn has conducted studies in more than 250 sites in the U.S., France, the United Kingdom and Italy and has published or presented more than 125 papers. She was a member of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Identifying and Preventing Medication Errors and the United States Pharmacopeia Safe Medication Use Expert Committee and was awarded the APhA Wiederholt Prize for Outstanding Research in 2010.

A national study of dispensing accuracy found an overall accuracy rate of 98.3% on prescriptions filled involving a human, which means that more than 5 million prescriptions are filled incorrectly each year by non-automated systems. Most errors involved the label, including wrong instructions or incorrect label information. Others included wrong drugs and wrong dosages.

In contrast, Dr. Flynn's study found no such errors associated with InstyMeds dispensers. She attributed the accuracy level to the prescriber order entry system used with InstyMeds, which does not require transcription or editing of the prescription, and the multiple barcode checks before medications are dispensed.

"Concerns over the accuracy and safety of automated prescription dispensing are justified," said Schraut, pointing to an IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report estimating that medication errors contribute $20 billion in unnecessary cost to the healthcare system. "Yet medication noncompliance adds a staggering $105 billion in avoidable costs. The first step to bringing down those costs and improving outcomes is to make it easy for patients to fill their prescriptions, which is what InstyMeds does.

"Our hope is that this study will help get the industry thinking about how automation is another solution to augment existing medication delivery systems and can change patient care for the better by easing concerns over accuracy when the potential for human error is eliminated from the dispensing process," he added.

To obtain a copy of the report, please contact Joe Winkelman by email or by calling (866) 467-8963.

About InstyMeds
Founded in 1999 in Minneapolis, Minn., InstyMeds Corporation provides an automated system which dispenses prescription medications directly to patients at the point of care, thereby improving prescription fill rates and reducing downstream costs associated with patient noncompliance. In addition, InstyMeds offers a level of convenience to enhance patient satisfaction and give healthcare facilities a competitive edge. With more than 2 million prescription medications dispensed, InstyMeds' mission is to make patients better, faster by providing immediate access to acute medications.


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