Improved Efficiency and Enhanced Accuracy in Dispensing Drugs for Hospital Patients at Strong Health
Strong Health pioneered pharmacy automation in the Rochester area in the winter of 1998 by installing the ScriptPro SP 200 robot in the Strong Outpatient Pharmacy. The SP 200 performs a variety of time consuming tasks to help the pharmacist fill prescriptions more efficiently and more safely.
How Does the Robot Work?
Once a prescription is entered into a pharmacy computer system, the robotic arm of the SP 200 determines the correct size vial, then finds the specified drug. Using bar code scanning, it verifies the location of the drug. The robotic arm holds the vial and counts the pills as they are automatically dropped into the vial. The arm then places the vial on a short conveyer belt and the patient label is applied, complete with medication warning labels.
Bar code scanning is used throughout the system to assure that the correct drug is given to the patient. The pharmacist makes the final check for accuracy, comparing the pills in the vial with a computer screen image of the drug.
The McKesson ROBOT-RxTM (ROBOT-Rx)
The ROBOT-Rx in the Pharmacy Department at Strong Health is storing and dispensing drugs for patients in the hospital. Once medications are ordered by doctors and reviewed and typed into the computer by pharmacists, the ROBOT-Rx relies on bar-code technology to accurately identify, count and package single-dose medications for delivery to patients in the hospital. The ROBOT-Rx frees pharmacists from routine tasks so they can play a more active role on the patient-care team. This technology allows the Pharmacy Department at Strong Health to maintain high quality care and improve our efficiency and patient services.
The ROBOT-Rx is a centralized drug distribution system that automates the storage, dispensing, return, restocking and crediting of unit-dose, bar-coded inpatient medications. A robotic arm operates on vertical and horizontal rails and is programmed to retrieve medications and deposit them into patient-specific boxes called cassettes. The system can stock 40,000 doses of 771 types of medications. At Strong Health, the ROBOT-Rx dispenses about 6,000 to 7,000 doses each day.
More Information About ROBOT-Rx
McKesson Automated Healthcare of Pittsburgh manufactures ROBOT-Rx. It’s widely recognized for its accuracy in the prevention of medication errors, the company reports. It is used in more than 130 hospitals and health systems across the country and has dispensed more than 45 million doses to date without an error.
Technology at Highland Hospital
Highland Hospital uses bar code technology to stock ATM-type cabinets with medications in each nursing unit and care area. These cabinets are part of a comprehensive medication distribution system from Pyxis, a Cardinal Health company.
After the pharmacists have reviewed the medication orders, and entered into the pharmacy computer system, the medication information is transmitted to the Pyxis Medstation. Medication may not be removed from the cabinet unless the order has been reviewed by the pharmacist and recorded on the patient medication profile.
Bar-code technology is used throughout the purchasing and restocking process to ensure the right medication is stocked in the correct location in each medication cabinet. The system even reorders medication from our supplier!