Patient Life Safety Meets Access Control

Southern Ohio Medical Center improves efficiency and accuracy when delivering and dispensing patient medications


Installed by Microman, the pre-programmed wall units have specifications particular to SOMC. While physical access control is delivered through the EdgeReader and iCLASS cards, the control of the hardware is provided through the Securus Web software. The software controls which individuals are allowed access into each station based on an access level, including the date and time access is allowed. In addition, the application also records how access is added and removed.

The solution enables pharmacy technicians to deliver bar-coded, 24-hour scheduled, non-narcotic medications to the secured wall-mounted stations. Using authorized iCLASS cards, the nursing staff is then able to access and administer the medication according to SOMC’s Five Patient Rights. The contactless cards have proven to be more durable, as the old cards’ magnetic strip frequently wore off.

“Prior to its implementation, [the Pharmacy] would receive many phone calls from nurses regarding misplaced medications,” says Rory Phillips, director of the SOMC pharmacy. “With the traditional medication cart system, there also was potential for mixing up medication meant for specific patients.”

Accuracy for patient medication dispensing has improved significantly thanks to the new solution. Workflow is also more efficient because the amount of time it previously took nurses to go to the medication room and retrieve new medications has been significantly reduced. Additionally, medication is secure and located where the staff expects it to be, while eliminating the need for medication carts; thus making the hospital hallways accessible and less cluttered.

“Having the medications at the patient bedside has helped our nursing staff provide a much higher quality of care,” says Valerie DeCamp, director of SOMC Inpatient Services.

“Our new dispensing system leaves less room for error and allows us to provide our patients with a quicker, safer process for receiving medications,” adds Tim Lacey, nursing shift manager of SOMC Inpatient Services. “The flag system also gives us a more efficient way of knowing when medications have been delivered and can be administered.”

With the original installation of 73 EdgeReaders being a success, SOMC ordered and installed an additional 102 in the hospital’s new North Tower, including 12 on the first floor Heart Care Unit (HCU), 30 on the second floor in the Surgical-Vascular Care Unit (SVCU), 30 on the third floor in the Medical-Surgical Care Unit (MSCU), and 30 more that are located on the fourth floor in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU).

“Since implementing the WALLaroo solution, phone calls have dramatically dropped, there has been significantly less confusion between the pharmacy and the nursing staff and we are able to provide a much safer environment for our patients,” Phillips says.