Starting Semester: Spring 2024
Assigned: Yes
Location: Atlanta

Grady Health System

Client Profile

Grady Health System is a large academic medical center in downtown Atlanta that provides emergency, acute, and outpatient medical care. Grady is the only level 1 trauma center in metro Atlanta, and has 953 licensed beds.

Grady improves the health of the community by providing quality, comprehensive healthcare in a compassionate, culturally competent, ethical, and fiscally responsible manner. Grady maintains its commitment to the underserved of Fulton and DeKalb counties, while also providing care for residents of metro Atlanta and Georgia. Grady leads through its clinical excellence, innovative research, and progressive medical education and training.

The Grady Main Inpatient Pharmacy is responsible for stocking and distributing medications to all acute care units within the hospital, and processes over 5,000 inpatient medication orders per day.

Project Description

The Grady Main inpatient Pharmacy (MIP) operates 24/7/365 to centrally manage and distribute medications throughout the hospital. Within the MIP footprint, there are 2 high-density storage carousels, bulk storage racks, and refrigerated storage areas. Combined, these storage spaces contain approximately 3000 unique medications. Each day, inventory is pulled and delivered to the nearly 200 individual automated dispensing cabinets located in acute care units. Currently, there are 9 scheduled automated dispensing cabinet (ADC) pulls and deliveries each day, and on-demand patient-specific orders are pulled as needed throughout the day. The process of pulling medications from the carousels can present a bottleneck, particularly during scheduled ADC pulls, as only 1 user can operate each carousel at a time.

Over the next several months, an additional 2 high-density storage carousels and 16 automated dispensing cabinets will be installed as part of a 185-bed acute care expansion, and the volume of medications stored and distributed from MIP is expected to increase by up to 25%. To ensure that the pharmacy provides the best service and patient care possible, we are looking to optimize inpatient pharmacy medication storage and distribution. Key objectives include the following:

• Optimize medication storage within carousels

• Increase medication picking efficiency

• Reduce the amount of time it takes to pull ADC replenishments

• Optimize ADC replenishment schedule

• Implement a tool to guide future medication storage space assignments


Process Improvement, workflow modeling, optimization, inventory mapping, time studies, data analysis, problem solving, and creative thinking