Local companies partner to help pharmacy patients
Before Cape Cod Healthcare joined forces with Hyannis-based manufacturing company SencorpWhite, members of the pharmacy staffs at Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital logged a lot of miles retrieving drugs from the shelves. Now, with the installation of a new specialized carousel system, run by a highly sensitive software system, the drugs primarily come to the pharmacy staff in one location.
“This allows us to push a button and know exactly what inventory we have, down to the exact units,” said James Mangan, director of hospital pharmacy for Cape Cod Healthcare.
The decision to use SencorpWhite for the carousel – officially called the Vertical Carousel Inventory Management Dispensing System - was an easy one, he said. They are the national partner of the software company for the device, BD Pyxis Pharmogistics™. Both Cape Cod Hospital (CCH) and Falmouth Hospital (FH) have used the Pyxis software for many years. It just so happens that the carousel system is built just a few miles from CCH in Independence Park.
“If it wasn’t for the airport being where it is, we would be able to get there door to door in five minutes,” Mangan said.
Before the new carousel system, pharmacy staff had to manually search for the item and prepare it for delivery to the hospital unit for which it was intended. Now, with the new pharmacy carousel, a provider can order a medication (fluids, injections, tablets, etc.) from anywhere within the hospital and the carousel will automatically locate the item, rotate to that shelf, and indicate which tray on the shelf to pull the item from.
The SencorpWhite carousel “box” is 12 feet wide, 10 feet high and six feet deep. Shelves inside the device roll, like a roller coaster of sorts, bringing the exact drug needed before it stops automatically in front of the pharmacy staff member.
“It’s an established technology but it’s really going to help us be more efficient and be aware of drug shortages,” Mangan said. “We’ve done a wonderful job of keeping that under control, but it will allow us to be aware of it two to three days sooner.”
SencorpWhite has been making the carousel machines for the past 75 years, according to Scott Crossman, director of pharmacy automation for the company. The company has built the system primarily for hospitals for the past 25 years, he said.
“(The system) we installed at Cape Cod Hospital is what we supply to about 75 percent of the country,” he added.
The carousel system is not the first time SencorpWhite has worked with Cape Cod Healthcare this year. The Hyannis company is working under the Defense Production Act on another part of their business to make personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and first responders, said Corey Calla, president of SencorpWhite. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, SencorpWhite worked with Honeywell International, Inc. to make N95 masks for the national stockpile. They are in the process of building nine machines for Honeywell, he said.
SencorpWhite donated some PPE to Cape Cod Healthcare earlier in the year, Calla said. The company has a die to make one-piece face shields.
“We made a limited supply and delivered it free of charge” to the hospital, he said.
The business is located in a 225,000-square-foot building in Independence Park and has about 240 employees (and looking for more), Calla said. “Our production floor is booked out through February or March of 2021,” he said.
Both Calla and Mangan called the pharmacy carousel partnership a win-win arrangement.
“We’re working with a global company (BD Pyxis) and the device that works with their Pharmogistics brain is coming four miles,” said Mangan. “That’s pretty rare on Cape Cod.”
As for SencorpWhite, “the more we do locally, the better,” said Calla. “It’s great when you can do it in your own backyard.”