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Medication Cabinets, Carts, & BCMA 2014

Medication Cabinets, Carts, & BCMA 2014
Technology's Impact on Nurse Efficiency and Patient Safety

Authored by: Paul Hess & Jon Christensen April 14, 2014

Current Time Inside Cache Tag Helper: 9/28/2020 9:44:11 PM and Model.reportId = 850

How do medication cabinets, carts, and barcode medication administration (BCMA) affect nursing efficiency? How do they enhance patient safety? KLAS spoke with 177 nurses to find out. These nurses overwhelmingly viewed the technology as a helpful tool for enhancing patient care, and this study explores how these vendor solutions produce different results.

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cart configuration and resulting impact on nurse efficiency
percent of nurses reporting carts significantly helped efficiency
which meds do you get from your cabinets
medication cabinet nurse performance scores



CareFusion beat out the competition for the top cabinet spot. While nurses reported that all cabinets improve their efficiency, CareFusion had the highest percentage of customers who dispensed most medications from their cabinets, and nurses rated CareFusion highest for product quality and ease of use. Omnicell’s cabinet was rated the top-rated cabinet by pharmacy, but Omnicell was the only vendor to be rated lower by nurses. From a limited sample, nurses using Cerner said the tight integration with Cerner’s EMR outweighs other minor concerns.


Carts with storage drawers have the most significant impact on nurse efficiency. Howard Medical and Rubbermaid Healthcare had the highest percentage of nurses who noted significant efficiency and safety gains, benefitting from their drawer configurations. The nurses using these carts reported relatively few issues with batteries or the carts themselves. Ergotron had the fewest nurses report gains, and some noted challenges with the cart size or batteries.


Lines at the cabinet and slowness are oft-cited arguments against cabinets and barcoding. This proved to be a myth. For those getting most medications out of their cabinet, nearly 84% stated that cabinets improved efficiency. Though lines at the cabinet were cited as an annoyance, most nurses prefer using the cabinets to waiting for the pharmacy. Though barcoding takes a bit longer, the nurses were clear that the patient-safety benefits alone outweigh the additional time required. Additionally, 76% said they are more efficient with BCMA since they don’t have to document as much and can access the entire medication record at the point of care.


The most vulnerable step in the medication administration process is the last 50 feet. More organizations consider purchasing a new BCMA system or expanding their existing one as their top priority. The next-highest priority was acquiring mobile point-of-care devices that consolidate the nurse tool belt (e.g., wireless communication, BCMA, secure messaging, specimen collection, blood administration). Cerner, Epic, and PatientSafe Solutions offer devices with more than just BCMA, but to date, adoption has been minimal.

carts impact on efficiency and patient safety
are you using your emr vendors bcma tool
top medication administration technology being considered


AESYNT AcuDose-Rx:

Solid, reliable cabinet. Most noted for helping nurses with interruptions during medication pulls. Nurses noted recent upgrade improvements to slightly lagging overall product quality, and a few mentioned field-support challenges.

CAREFUSION Pyxis MedStation:

Easy-to-use cabinet. Highest rated by nurses for product quality and reliability. Most highly recommended cabinet by nurses. Has highest percentage of customers using it to hold most medications.


Highest rated by pharmacy thanks to highly regarded service/support, but lowest rated by nursing for overall performance. Nurses noted potential for improvement with ease of use of the medication-pull process and reporting.



A solid, reliable cabinet that has seen little new development over the years. ABTG has a hands-off approach with customers.

CERNER RxStation:

Newest entry to cabinet market. Nurses highlighted recent improvements to the overall cabinet and patient-safety benefits gained from the tight EMR integration. A couple of nurses noted that the product hinders efficiency. A few noted support limitations.

Nursing Carts


Generally bolsters efficiency/safety. Challenges with maneuverability hamper nurse usage. No noted battery issues.


Batteries easily swapped out, but they don’t last as long as promised. More battery issues than any other cart, which limits positive impact on patient safety. Efficiency gains from drawer configurations.


Lowest percentage of customers that said carts improve nursing efficiency or patient safety. Nursing adoption challenged by battery issues, lack of drawers, and nurse preferences for wall-mounted computers.


Second-highest average percentage of customers who reported that carts help patient safety and nursing efficiency. Few challenges and no noted battery issues, though cart mobility did come up as an issue.


Moderate, but not significant, impact on nurse efficiency and patient safety. Few noted battery issues.


Highest average percentage of customers who reported carts help nurse efficiency and patient safety. Easy to maneuver. Service team’s interactions with customers are positive.

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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2020 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.