The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Daniel J. Grady, John H. Riggs, Terrence F. Smith, Gregory Campbell, Harvey Mitchell, Jordan Erickson, Jody Miller; Respiratory Care, Mission Health System, Asheville, NC

Background: The US Pharmacopeia and pharmaceutical manufacturers publish temperature storage ranges for inhaled medications. Regulatory requirements have prohibited Respiratory Therapists from carrying medications in their lab coat pocket or fanny packs due to excessive temperatures which may cause drug breakdown. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that there is no significant difference in temperature between the transported medications and medication stored in automated machines. Setting: This study was performed in an 800 bed, acute care hospital system. Methods: The temperature was measured in a total of 62 samples (n= 62) of unit-dose, normal saline medications. The mean temperature was compared in 2 groups: Group 1: saline stored in automated Pyxis machines was compared with; Group 2: saline medications transported by Respiratory Therapists. A total of 31 (n=31) saline samples were measured for temperature in each group. Method of transport by Respiratory Therapists included scrub pocket, lab coat pocket, and fanny pack. Results: No statistically significant difference in temperature exists between medication stored in automated Pyxis machines and medication transported by Respiratory Therapists (mean difference in temperature was less than one degree Centigrade and equals –0.8 degrees, two-sample t test (P-value = 0.388). Both the Respiratory Therapist method of transport and the automated storage machines were similar in performance for keeping saline within recommended medication temperature storage ranges. Major Conclusions: Because of the high cost associated with the inefficient process of obtaining medications; one at a time, from an automated storage machine in between patient visits; very significant cost reductions can be achieved by changing the process for medication retrieval. Instead of retrieving medications, one at a time, from a storage machine; our study indicates that multiple medications may be retrieved and transported without a significant difference in temperature of the medication. In the Mission Health System alone, this change in practice for medication retrieval will result in a 20% improvement in productivity for this procedure and cost savings of approximately $158,000 annually. Sponsored Research - None

Table 1: Comparison of Medication Temperatures between Therapist and Pyxis Machine