e. Greater Interaction. The unit dose system results in much more interaction
among the pharmacy staff, ward personnel, and physicians. This factor increases
f. Patient Safety. This is the over-riding advantage of the unit dose system
because the system reduces the chances for medication errors.
a. Increased Cost. A unit dose system requires additional equipment and more
expensive "forms" of medications. Today, many medications are commercially
prepared and available in unit dose packages. Of course, there are still medications
that are received in bulk and must be broken down into unit dose. Medications already
available in unit dose packages usually cost more per dose than the same medications
in bulk packaging. This cost is inherent not only in establishing the system but
continuing throughout the life of the system.
b. Time Consuming. It takes pharmacy personnel more time to handle each
dose individually rather than send the drug in bulk to a ward. It also takes time to check
and transcribe orders and to check for drug interactions and contraindications. All these
procedures are time consuming, but necessary, for the unit dose system to work
c. Increased Staffing. Since the unit dose system is so time consuming, there
is a need for additional pharmacy personnel. The unit dose system is labor intensive,
and it requires more people to make it work.
d. Frequent Ordering. In the ward issue system, orders are placed
periodically. Unit dose orders are prepared at least daily and more often if necessary.
UNIT DOSE SYSTEM
Because the advantages of the unit dose system far outweigh the disadvantages,
most hospitals have converted to the unit dose system.