Pouch Device Optimization
Posted on March 28, 2017
By KJ Delaney, Application Consultant
Being the owner of an ARxIUM pouch packager does have its share of responsibility. You have made an investment into your business of taking care of your patients. However, you will also need to take care of your device. I do understand you are all busy. The phone is ringing. The patients are waiting. The doctor needs to discuss their patient’s treatment. But with these few tips, you will make your machine last and become more efficient. The machine will do the work for you; you just need to help it along.
This is, by far, the main issue affecting machines. The lack of cleaning/maintenance on a daily basis will shorten the lifespan of your device. We will provide you a daily log form to help you out. The log form will also tell you how often to clean and more importantly, how to clean. In most cases being armed with a dry, lint free cloth, a wire bristle brush and around 20-30 minutes, your machine will work more effortlessly for you.
The path that the pill takes will collect pill dust. By doing your due diligence, you will keep the pathway clean and help prevent future damage. Also, it will help eliminate cross contamination. The pill dust will find its way into the gears of the canister and the motor base. From there, it will settle on where the meds are packaged. The fine powder will collect in multiple locations and over time, if not treated, the dust will damage even the strongest parts of the device.
The heat rollers or heating element, depending on what machine you have, will seal your packages for your patients. Hundreds or thousands of packages will pass thru the section every day. When they do, plastic packaging paper will leave residue behind on the heaters. If that does occur, there is a chance that either the packages will not seal properly or the packaging roll will stick to the heaters, causing jams.
Before we installed your machine, we asked you for your top medications that you will package. You probably provided a velocity report or a printout that showed your fastest moving medications. Those medications were set to have canisters. The other meds, your slower moving medications, were set to be tray medications. Over time, that list may change. I have heard many a customer tell about how many tray meds they fill on a daily basis. Make the machine work for you. Run packaging reports every 4 to 6 months to see what fast or high moving medications are being filled in a tray and what slow or no movement medications are taking up space in the canisters.
One other area to look at is the medication database itself. Your formulary will change. It is up to you to maintain your medication database as well. Adding new and modifying existing medications will help ensure that the medications that you have in your formulary do match up with your packager. That will help your interface send proper information for you to create and run your batches easily.
Now, failure with this piece could lead to catastrophe. Make sure your backups have run and are being saved. The backup runs every night and will save all database information. Verifying that the backup ran and was saved successfully will save you in the event of hardware failure. A few years ago I received a call from a customer that had a server fail. One of the questions that I asked was about their backup. The person on the phone stated that they had a problem with it not saving and never called it in. I asked when that originally happened, and he stated 2 years ago. At this point, there was not much we could do except restore a two year old backup. My father told me that it is better to have and not need, than need and not have. If you look and you see that a backup didn’t save, call our support department. Let us help you before it is too late.
Even the components themselves are susceptible to damage. A little attention will go a long way. Maintain your devices by keeping them and the area as dust free as possible. I have been in some sites where I would be working on a computer and a litter of dust bunnies have taken residence in the fans of the device. Now, I have to admit. I am not a fan of canned air. You spray the area clean, it’s true. But all of that dust and mess will now go elsewhere.
Beverages may help you, but could hurt the devices. Yes, that morning cup of coffee or tea, or the after lunch soft drink or bottle of water will get you through the day but will cause havoc if spilled around your device setup. Spilling in the keyboard or the computer itself could result in equipment failure, so please keep them away.
I have said it many times before to customers and coworkers, if you take care of your machine, your machine will take care of you. Make it a daily habit to work on your packager. The 30 minutes or so now could save you the day or longer of being offline in the future.
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