Pyxis machines are now installed at specific LACoFD stations in each field battalion.
by Karen Zarsadiaz-Ige
On Wednesday, June 7, the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) successfully implemented the use of an automated dispensing system known as Pyxis.
“For us to get this up and running three weeks ahead of deadline is impressive,” said LACoFD Battalion Chief Nick Berkuta, Emergency Medical Services Bureau. “I am so proud of the collaborative effort to produce such a positive outcome.”
Pyxis machines are used at hospitals to provide doctors and nurses with prescription medicine and medical supplies. They improve security, efficiency and accountability as well as provide easier access to prescription medicine when needed.
The Department started researching the use of Pyxis units last year when the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services announced its hospital pharmacies would not be providing supplies of controlled narcotics to the Department anymore, starting July 1, 2017.
As an alternative, the Department decided to invest in Pyxis machines that are now installed at a specific station in each field battalion. There are 24 total units that are interconnected and monitored by a pharmacist. The pharmacist is responsible for managing the program with the use of software that indicates when machines need replenishment of controlled narcotic medications and intraosseous needles.
Chief Berkuta says it took cooperation and combined efforts from all divisions to help make this possible, including procuring the machines and equipment, making modifications at the stations receiving the specialized units, networking interconnectivity between the machines, delivering them to each battalion, training paramedics and select personnel on the use of Pyxis, and creating brand-new identification cards to grant access to the secured units. Using biometrics technology, access is only granted to licensed paramedics and station captains.
The plan is to eventually fill the five-feet by two-feet dispensary units with other paramedic-level drugs and medical supplies to streamline the ordering process for daily stock. Essentially, the Pyxis machines cut out the middle man and allow for easier replenishment and management. “Pyxis will be a one-stop shop for the re-supply for paramedics,” Chief Berkuta explained.
Pyxis units are under a five-year lease for $1.1 million. They are fully operational 24/7.