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How to Integrate New Medical Cabinets With Your Existing Workflow

June 14, 2018 | by Brian Shoenfeld

In a Lean hospital, one of the primary goals is to minimize waste. Waste could be anything from wasted time performing tasks in an efficient workflow to wasted medical supplies because they expired.

Another primary source of waste comes from a lack of clarity on how to integrate new medical cabinets in your hospital workflow. If you are on the biomed or medical team, you could find yourself using valuable time trying to balance everyday challenges with the requirements for setting up new medical cabinets.

Because Talon supports Lean operations in your hospital, we want to provide the following solutions to your common challenges when setting up new medical cabinets to ensure the best use of your time.

Workflow Integration Challenge #1: Planning for New Equipment and System

The first step in the process of integrating new medical cabinets in your hospital workflow comes before the equipment is purchased. Following the PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Adjust) cycle, it is crucial at the Planning stage to learn about the equipment’s capabilities and review the current state workflow with key stakeholders.

Then, once the purchase is made, you can make adjustments to the current state workflow, if necessary, and receive proper training on the new equipment and accompanying system once it arrives. Taking the time to plan, train, and understand the system that supports the medical cabinets will generate short-term and long-term benefits.

Short-term benefits: You will maximize your efficiency in setting up the new equipment and system. You will also be able to better explain to internal users how the equipment and system will function and fit within the new workflow.

Long-term benefits: After the equipment and system are integrated, you will reduce time spent handling service tickets and providing other support functions because of your deep knowledge of the equipment and system.

Workflow Integration Challenge #2: Developing a Process Flow Map

After assimilating the information about the new medical cabinets and system, your facility should develop a high-level process flow map to illustrate where and when the cabinets are used in the operating model.

The process flow map should be your guide to train users on how the cabinets integrate with your hospital’s medication workflow.

Your goal is to reduce time spent by internal users digesting the information and understanding how the new cabinets apply to them. To achieve this goal, the information should be presented in an easy-to-understand format for each stakeholder, ensuring their assimilation and efficient use of time understanding when each step occurs.

Workflow Integration Challenge #3: Security and Proper Use

Once the new medical cabinets are integrated with your workflow, you want to focus on security and the proper use of the equipment during the onboarding stage.

It is often worthwhile to set aside one to two months to gather valuable feedback at this early stage of the integration process. Keep the feedback loop open for users and stakeholders to provide information on how the medical cabinets are working in a real-time, real-life setting.

Additionally, you may encounter security issues or situations where the cabinets are not used properly. What typically happens is users try to bypass protocols because they are not used to the new cabinets, become frustrated, and try to take a shortcut to avoid slowing down.

Typically, the user is not trying to cause headaches. They are merely accustomed to the former way of performing their tasks. At this stage, be sure to reinforce the documented operating standards and work in-person with each user to address their challenges.

Taking the time to gather feedback and address issues immediately after integration will reduce the amount of time required for ongoing service months or years later.

Workflow Integration Challenge #4: Preparing to Answer Questions

Inevitably, issues will arise in the day-to-day use of new medical cabinets in your hospital well after integration. A pharmacy technician will accidentally bump into the cabinet and cause slight damage. Or, a new nurse will be hired who was not part of the onboarding phase.

If you took the time to digest valuable information about the medical cabinet, you can efficiently service the cabinet. If you created documentation for users to use the cabinets properly, then you can provide this information to a new employee to maximize both of your time.

As part of a Lean operating mentality, your goal is to reduce waste. You do not want to waste valuable time continually servicing the cabinets when you can take steps early in the process to reduce the number of incidents and service tickets.
Talon Can Help You Integrate New Medical Cabinets
Talon is fully equipped to help your biomed or equipment team integrate new medical cabinets in your hospital workflow.

First, Talon manufactures a complete line of durable medication and medical supply cabinets that are designed to fit seamlessly into your existing workflow.

The cabinets are part of our MedCab™ product line which are available in standard and premium configurations, range in size from full towers to half towers, and include a variety of efficient, in-room wall-mounted options.

Second, Talon provides industry-leading support to maintain the operating integrity of your new medical cabinets and system. We work directly with your team to support the process of integrating the new cabinets and help users become accustomed to using the new equipment.

To find out more about our medical cabinets and support capabilities, contact one of our Client Solutions Representatives today. We would appreciate the opportunity to support your hospital or facility reduce waste and operate more efficiently.


About the Author

Brian Shoenfeld

Brian joined Talon in 2014 and brought with him a proven track record for project managing, product development, and increasing operational efficiency. Using his knowledge of STEM, business prowess, and healthcare experience, Brian leads Talon’s operational improvements to create better products and improved customer service. When he’s not in the office, Brian spends time with his wife and two sons and cheers on Syracuse.