What Is a Pyxis Machine?

A Pyxis machine -- officially known as a Pyxis Medstation -- is an automated medication dispensing system, marketed by CareFusion, based in San Diego California. According to CareFusion, a Pyxis Medstation can reduce the cost that hospital pharmacies incur for carrying stock, increase the availability of billing and usage information and increase the productivity of hospital staff.


The Pyxis Medstation was originally developed by Pyxis Corporation, which released the first commercial version onto the market in 1990. In 1996, Pyxis Corporation was acquired by Cardinal Health, based in Ohio. It was renamed CareFusion in 2009 and spun off as a separate, publicly traded company.

Inventory Costs

The Pyxis Medstation maintains an inventory of all the pharmaceuticals dispensed, over all time, along with current usage data. As such, it not only reduces the labor costs associated with tracking inventory manually, but also reduces the cost of carrying inventory; pharmaceuticals can be reordered according to current supply and demand. Furthermore, hospital administrators can use the inventory information provided by the Pyxis Medstation during negotiations with pharmaceutical suppliers.


The Pyxis Medstation uses barcode scanning to ensure that the intended medication is removed from the dispenser and inserted into the dispenser when the existing supply runs out. The Pyxis machine also includes additional safety precautions, which prevent the wrong medication from being loaded on specific devices, warn hospital staff if the wrong dose is about to be removed and alert staff to potentially harmful errors before medication reaches the patient. Potentially harmful errors include dispensing medication to which a patient is allergic and dispensing medication that may interact with other medications dispensed at the same time or previously.


A Pyxis machine provides a single central point for dispensing drugs, so hospital staff always know where to find them and don’t waste time searching for keys to narcotic cabinets. Furthermore, a Pyxis machine records every transaction, in and out, so hospital staff don’t need to manually count the remaining doses and notify the hospital pharmacy when supplies run low. According to CareFusion, only counting inventory that has been accessed since the last count -- all that is necessary with a Pyxis machine -- reduces the average nursing time spent of weekly inventory by 15 minutes. By eliminating mundane, labor-intensive tasks, a Pyxis machine saves time, which hospital staff can use to improve patient care.