The IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet is designed for physician-lead dispensing in the surgical setting, while enabling careful management and control by pharmacists.

This article focuses on how pharmacists can manage controlled drugs and narcotics stored in an IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet situated in the surgical setting.

1.      Two sizes to fit in to the OR and PR setting

Getting a narcotics cabinet into the surgical setting is the first challenge faced by hospitals looking to decentralize surgical dispensing. Some procedure and operating rooms have very little space to play with, so that’s why IDENTI provides two sizes of Narcotics Cabinet.

The first is designed for a larger space and contains 1000 cells that can be filled with ampoules, vials, packets and containers of narcotics and controlled drugs.

Secured narcotics cabinet

The second table-top unit contains 200 cells and is ideal solution where there is no space for a freestanding cabinet.


 Table-Top IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet

Both models have a bottom drawer with around 60 cells, which is reserved for any whole items which were removed from the cabinet but were not ultimately used during the procedure.

2.      Safe and secure storage

It is obviously important that the Narcotics Cabinet provides a secure place to store controlled substances. In order to put safety and security measures in place, our cabinet contains integrated high-tech security features that limit access to authorized users only.

Each user needs to be authorized prior to gaining access to the narcotics cabinet and this validation is carried out using facial recognition or fingerprint technology. Permitted users will gain entry to the system, in just a few seconds.

narcotics cabinet
Narcotics Cabinet authorizes access using face recognition technology

The security works in three ways, it:

  • ensures that only authorized users can gain access
  • logs each user’s actions, ensuring individual accountability
  • creates an audit trail that helps the pharmacist understand dispensing at user level

3.      Simple User Interface

The Narcotics Cabinet has a digital screen and is menu-driven. There is one menu designed for clinicians to use for dispensing and another for pharmacists to use for managing the cabinet. This article focuses on the pharmacy menu.

The pharmacist user interface is intuitive and enables easy navigation of the system.

Secured narcotics cabinet hospital
Narcotics cabinet simple interface

There are four options that the pharmacist can use.

  • Fill – this option from the menu allows the pharmacist to fill the cabinet with drugs and narcotics.
  • Remove – this option allows the pharmacist to empty out the returns drawer and validate the contents, holding each doctor accountable for the medicines that they initially removed but later returned.
  • Maintenance – this option allows for general maintenance, such as viewing any cells, checking different medicine types and so on.
  • Inventory – this option allows the pharmacist to manually count the inventory to validate the contents. Any individual cell can be opened and checked.

4.      Easy Stocking of the Narcotics Cabinet

Filling the cabinet is easy. The Fill process commences with the pharmacist selecting the medication he or she would like to refill.  The screen displays a searchable menu of products and the relevant medication just needs to be selected. The next step is to select the relevant dosage of the item to be added to the cabinet.

The cabinet displays the exact quantity of the item needed for the cabinet to be fully stocked.  The pharmacist can decide whether to fill the cell to its maximum capacity or just make a partial refill.

Once the item, dosage and quantity have been selected, the next step is to enter the batch or lot number of the medication, as well as the expiration date. This is all done via an easy-to-use touch screen and all the important information is then stored and used by the pharmacy to manage the inventory via the management system.

If there is more than one lot number or different expiry dates on the items being restocked, then the medication can simply be added in separate batches and the relevant information added for each.

5.      Narcotics cabinet signposting to the correct cell

The IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet makes it easy to locate the correct place to restock each medication.

  • Which Drawer? The cabinet uses a flashing light on the front of the relevant drawer, as well as on a cabinet diagram on the touchscreen.
  • Which Cell? When the user opens the drawer, the relevant cell automatically pops up, and is again indicated via a diagram on the user interface.
Narcotic cabinet
Narcotics Cabinet drawer and cells

These useful signposting features enable the pharmacist to quickly locate the correct place in the cabinet to add each medication. Useful pop-ups also display on the screen to help guide the user through the process.

Once one product has been successfully added, a different item can be selected and the same process followed.

If the pharmacist wants to double check any of his restocking, there is an option to reopen the cells used.

Restocking is quick and easy, with an intuitive user interface and in-built signposting tools.  All of these features ensure that each medication is accurately entered into the system software and safely stored in the correct cell.

6.      Returning Items to the Narcotics Cabinet

Validating and authorizing returned items is a simple process with the IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet. The ‘Remove Returns’ option from the menu provides a list of all the doctors who have returned items into the bottom drawer of the narcotics cabinet.

The pharmacist simply needs to select one of the doctors from the list, and the screen then displays the dates and times that this doctor returned medication.

The pharmacist then selects each date. The bottom drawer flashes on the screen (as well as on the cabinet) once the drawer is opened the pharmacist will see that the relevant cell has opened up, and the returned medication can then be removed.

7.      Validating and authorizing returned items

Secured narcotics cabinet
IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet – open drawer and cell

The display screen prompts the pharmacist to validate that the item in the cell matches the information provided by the doctor at the point of return. The medication type and dosage are listed and the pharmacist checks this against the items removed from the return’s drawer.

The audit trail provided by the IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet ensures personal accountability. If there is any discrepancy between what the doctor has reported and the actual items returned, then the pharmacist is able to override the previous details. The pharmacist can then simply follow up with the doctor to communicate the actual returned item details.










The IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet provides safe, secure and compliant storage of controlled drugs and narcotics. It provides ease of use for clinicians at the point of care combined with strong management controls for pharmacists.




This article on the pharmacy interface of the IDENTI Narcotics Cabinet is complemented by a tutorial video.

Point of Care Dispensing - the Narcotics Cabinet that gives Pharmacists full Control | IDENTI Medical

A further video tutorial showing the clinician interface, details how physicians and anesthetists can dispense in OR and Procedure Rooms.

Automated, Weight Based PAR Bin

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About the author

Or is the Head of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships. She has a wealth of experience in the health–tech sector. Her innovative marketing strategies have successfully driven IDENTI’s growth in multiple worldwide markets. Her strength is the ability to identify what truly resonates within the industry. She is passionate about building relationships and her expertise lies in creating meaningful partnerships with healthcare providers, distributors, and suppliers..
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