New Machine At Hospital Means Safer, Cleaner Medicine

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The pharmacy at Payson Regional Medical Center has two new "isolation chambers."

The chambers, manufactured by Germfree Laboratories, provide an enclosed, sterile environment for pharmacists and technicians to prepare intravenous (IV) prescriptions for patients.

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Pharmacy director Linda Coglan mixes medications in one of Payson Regional Medical Center's two new "glove boxes." The machine's height adjusts to the user.

"New regulations from United States Pharmacopoeia for the protection of staff required changes in drug compounding (mixing) and current IV rooms," said PRMC pharmacy director Linda Coglan. "The chambers are used to prepare antibiotic and main IV solutions and use new safety methods to prevent pharmacy staff from exposure to drugs and chemicals."

When the hospital began the pharmacy remodel last fall, they invested in the new equipment rather than an IV room with an anteroom.

Previously, compounding at PRMC was done in a sterile room using an open hood, and chemotherapy drugs were mixed in a biosafety cabinet.

Now, the three pharmacists and two pharmacy technicians on staff, place IV solutions, needles, and drugs into the pre-filtering antechamber of the machine to be purged of bacteria.

The pharmacist then places her hands into attached plastic gloves into the larger sterile work area, opens the antechamber's inner door, slides out the tray, retrieves the medications and compounds them.

Disposal chutes lead to a bin for needles and a bin for other container waste.

One of the machines is used exclusively to mix chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer patients.

In it, air from the main chamber is vented outside through the roof through an additional High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.

Both machines use the same type of filtration system that is used in the hospital's surgical rooms.

"Even though the air is vented outside, because of the HEPA filter, the community is protected from the chemicals," Coglan said.

-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail clavalley@payson.com.

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