Pharmacy Robot Advances Safety

Eisenhower Medical Center is the first in the Coachella Valley to implement a robotic drug dispensing system, reducing the risk of medication errors for hospital patients. A centralized pharmacy system, McKesson’s ROBOT-Rx® automates the drug dispensing process using barcode scanning technology to aid pharmacy staff in dispensing oral and some injectible medications within the hospital. The robot provides significant productivity and medication safety improvements by automating the storage, dispensing and restocking of medications marked with barcodes. According to McKesson, ROBOT-Rx dispenses more than 500 million medications error free every year.

“We are very excited about the extraordinary capabilities available with ROBOT-Rx,” says Lyle Matthews, PharmD, MAM, Director, Pharmacy Services, Eisenhower Medical Center. “ROBOTRx’s barcode technology offers state-of-the-art accuracy by confirming every dose dispensed through computerized scanning functions. Eisenhower is on the leading edge of medication safety and is using virtually every available technology to verify medication accuracy both at the time of dispensing and at bedside.” Eisenhower pharmacy staff performs regular checks of the robot’s accuracy. The use of the robot also allows pharmacists to spend more time examining potential adverse drug interactions and consulting on the most effective drug therapy for each patient.

[PHOTO dir="assets/news/story/rxrobot2.jpg" align="Left" caption="Eisenhower Medical Center McKesson ROBOT-Rx" width="350"]With the implementation of ROBOT-Rx, Eisenhower now has additional safety checks in the medication dispensing administration process. The technology uses a robotic arm to pull packaged medications off pre-mapped pegs within the robot. Suction cups on the end of the robotic arm collect the packages. The robotic arm then transports the medications and drops them through a chute into an envelope bearing the name of the patient for whom they are intended. The envelope is then delivered to the nursing unit. Not only are the medications barcode scanned and verified to be accurate while dispensing in the Pharmacy, but also the nurses use additional barcode technology when administering the drugs to the patient, ensuring the correct patient is receiving the correct medications.

The implementation of ROBOT-Rx is another powerful example of the value of advances in medical technology and Eisenhower Medical Center’s commitment to safety and the very best patient care.