Chances are, your pharmacy may reside in a complex private or county healthcare system and provide a variety of inpatient and outpatient care services. To dispense, distribute and record drug prescriptions, you and the healthcare system may rely on computerized automated dispensing cabinets, also known as ADCs, to do so. How you use ADCs depends on the rules of your healthcare system and your location. Most health systems use ADCs extensively to manage medication. Suppliers create ADCs with each their own set of hardware and software functions before selling or contracting them to health systems.

The variety is meant to address different needs of a sophisticated drug distribution process. During the pandemic, hospitals and clinics use short-term staffs who have varying experiences with ADCs. The sheer variety also makes it difficult for healthcare systems and local governments to standardize practices. The risk of steering away from standard healthcare industry practices and enhancing drug safety are key issues for healthcare directors. For them, it pays to examine ADCs are used to address both.

To standardize practice, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, also called the ISMP, has set policy for the safety of ADCs.
The resulting guidance is known as the ISMP Targeted Medication Safety Best Practices for Hospitals. As a pharmacy owner, it pays for you to review guidelines set by the ISMP for use of ADCs in your drug dispensing activity. The rules appear on the ISMP website at

How you and healthcare staff use ADCs can increase the potential for prescription-related mistakes. As you and staff gain more access to ADCs and the numbers of drug orders increase, you would do well to execute the ISMP recommendations to guarantee safety and security for both patients and medical employees. You and staff must also review internal errors or alerts regularly and engage nurses and physicians in such scrutiny through periodical training and revisiting of the policy with staff.

Do you need help with training your employees on preventing mistakes with ADCs? Or, are your employees committing too many errors? Pharm Pals makes custom ADC Learning Modules for Businesses. With our services, you can choose what your employees need to learn, and we will create training modules specifically for them. Ready to get started? Fill out a Request Form today!