School partners with Cardinal Health in patient safety-oriented education

Joanne Dauer, M.S.N., R.N., a clinical instructor at the International Academy of Clinical Simulation and Research, demonstrates the Pyxis MedStation to nursing student Telecia Skinner.

The wrong drug. The wrong dosage. Each year, tens of thousands of patients suffer adverse reactions, even death, as a result of medication errors. Many of these incidents- as well as critical "near misses" that narrowly avoid causing harm to patients-go undocumented.

In an effort to help reduce such errors and to contribute to the body of knowledge that improves nursing best practices, the School of Nursing and Health Studies is partnering with Cardinal Health, a leader in the area of integrated product solutions and services for the health care industry.

The Pyxis MedStation that Cardinal Health recently donated to the school's new International Academy for Clinical Simulation and Research resembles a large storage cabinet. Within its sleek exterior, however, is a high-tech system for making medication management simpler, safer, and more secure. Medications can be monitored by drug or patient name as well as by parameters such as delivery method and maximum dosage to help ensure accurate and appropriate use.


The school's simulation academy is the only such center equipped with Cardinal Health's Pyxis MedStation and Supply Station.


A companion gift from Cardinal Health, the Pyxis Supply Station helps manage hospital and clinic inventories of dozens of commonly used items. The station dispenses supplies from Foley catheters to face masks, suction kits to spyrometers, to authorized users via a convenient "touch-to-take" interface while continually updating and transmitting information about usage, inventory, and replenishment of supplies.

The "brains" of both pieces are housed in separate console stations, also donated by Cardinal Health. The stations allow the MedStation and SupplyStation to communicate with each other as well as authorized users to optimize workflow, enhance effective collaboration among care teams, and manage costs.

The school's simulation academy is the only such center equipped with the Cardinal Health technology. The Pyxis equipment, like that of actual hospitals, is routed to the Cardinal Health mainframe computer to facilitate technical management and maintenance, though its access to the Cardinal system is coded to ensure that communications from actual clinical sites take priority.

"Improving patient and caregiver safety is central to Cardinal Health's mission," says Adriana Aguero Ayala, B.S.M.T. '81, the company's vice president for corporate solutions. "Our data show that errors in the prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, and administering of drugs can be intercepted and dramatically reduced.

"As a UM graduate," Ayala adds, "I'm especially excited about the potential to partner with the School of Nursing and Health Studies to improve patient safety and best practices throughout the chain of care."