The MedStar St. Mary's Hospital Pharmacy provides medication storage, distribution and preparation services on a 24-hour basis conveniently at the main hospital campus. Its goal is to be an advocate of quality care and to ensure that patients receive the best and most appropriate drug therapies. In addition, the Pharmacy maintains an up-to-date pharmaceutical reference library and an electronic drug information system to provide accurate information on any medication.
When dispensing medications, the Pharmacy uses the Pyxis system, which is similar to a computerized vending machine. Each system consists of a computer - the brains of the unit - and a series of drawers containing the medications. After a prescription is entered into the computer, the unit dispenses the medicine in its exact dose. Nurses can easily extract the medication and quickly deliver it to the waiting patient. The Pharmacy is then electronically notified of the withdrawal so the dispenser can be refilled.
In early 2009, the hospital began using CareMobile devices as part of the integration to a fully electronic medical record system. These devices are barcode medication-administration devices designed to prevent or reduce medication errors when providing medications to patients. Advances, such as these, are keeping MedStar St. Mary's Hospital at the forefront of medical technology. In fact, the hospital was ranked first in the state in 2009 and 2010 for medication safety through the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.