Robot Technology for Faster Medication Delivery at SEHA
SEHA as an organization achieved the goal of implementation of smart automated pharmacies across multiple Pharmacies in the region by deploying ROWA, an automated prescription dispensing robot, integrated with the SEHA’s Health Information System. Having an automated delivery process utilizing state of the technology interfaced with Cerner Solutions enables SEHA to be at the cutting edge of patient care.
The automated dispensing robots will accelerate the patient’s drug delivery process to ensure drug safety and efficiency, eliminating human errors caused by manual preparation of prescription medications and reducing patient waiting time. Reducing the chance of manual process related errors is a critical area in medication delivery. Using the ROWA system integrated with Cerner Solutions allows for the patient and the caregiver to have the confidence that 5 rights of medication delivery are being adhered to in order to reduce chances of errors.
Before the ROWA implementation, upon the completion of insurance approvals, the technician would use the labels to prepare the medications. The average time taken to prepare a prescription manually was exponentially longer compared to the new system using ROWA.
Post Implementation Workflow
The outpatient dispensing workflow post ROWA implementation is as follows
Once the Pharmacist receives the prescription in SEHA’s Health Information System, either through the Erx monitor or when the patient physically presents himself at the pharmacy with his insurance card, he proceeds to fill the prescription after validating all the relevant clinical and insurance details in the Health Information System. Once insurance approvals are available, the prescription is “Accepted”, which results in the message being routed to ROWA. The robotic arm prepares the medication and delivers it to a chute nearest to the pharmacist workstation, a design incorporated as part of the ROWA interface.
- 8-10 Seconds to Dispense Prescription
- Can dispense up to 90 drugs a minute, depending on drug types
- Reduced patient wait times from 45 minutes to 10 minutes, on average
- 10 seconds for ROWA to deliver medications to patient bin
- Ability to dispense over 5,000 drugs per hour to different patients
Snapshot of Improvements:
- Patients do not have to wait long to receive medication as the machine can fill and locate a prescription much faster than a human
- Pharmacists spend more time with the patients talking to patients about their medications, address possible interactions, basic preventive care and answer questions to improve the quality of a patient’s life as well
- Pharmacists devote more time to patient care as the robot pick the medications
- Robot pick the medication based on the unique identification defined in the system and so picking of wrong/identical box is 100% controlled.
- Tracking is controlled by the ROBOT system’s software and so stock management is easy.
- No physical/manual count required during inventory, we just pull the stock data based on the unique number defined for each items
- Medications are securely locked in automated dispensing machines, access to which is limited and controlled by key
Implementing this solution has lead to increased patient safety via reduced errors, better user experience via more time spent on patient care, and will undoubtedly lead to better patient experience due to decreased wait times for the patient. This was a huge undertaking and all those involved deserve a huge congratulations on a job well done.
Please watch these videos from the Client for more information: