Automatic pharmacy in Taixin Hospital may delivery the medicine to the hands of pharmacist in 8-10 seconds

Date :2014/5/13 9:04:41    Number:7853


The general process for patient to take the medicine includes the submission of prescription, dispensing by pharmacist, drug sending and delivery, this traditional process, however, has been renovated totally in TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital. Based on the automation of pharmacy, the computer system may dispense the medicines automatically for the patients according to the e-prescriptions and the drugs may be sent to the hands of pharmacist even the patient doesn't reach the pharmacy.





The general process for patient to take the medicine includes the submission of prescription, dispensing by pharmacist, drug sending and delivery, this traditional process, however, has been renovated totally in TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital. Based on the automation of pharmacy, the computer system may dispense the medicines automatically for the patients according to the e-prescriptions and the drugs may be sent to the hands of pharmacist even the patient doesn't reach the pharmacy; the whole process only costs 8-10 seconds. It is not necessary for the pharmacist to find out the medicines throughout the pharmacy, thus they can spend more time to communicate with the patients to direct the issues of drug administration.


The medicines may be sent to the hands of pharmacist in 8-10 seconds

In yesterday (27th) morning, uncle Sun visited Taixin Hospital for the first time and took habitually the prescription to the front desk of pharmacy after the completion of medical appointment. The staff at the front desk told him that the prescription was not required now and what he could do was to sit in the chair for the drugs. Unlike the general pharmacy, the pharmacists here sat in front of the computers without moving around for dispensing and taking the medicines. Two conveyor belts were added beside them in which one rotated from top to bottom and the other reached straightly to the pharmacists like a carriage. The two belts were used to transfer the medicines.

In fact, the e-prescriptions issued by the doctors will be sent automatically to the outpatient pharmacy via the system. The e-prescription may be sent to the integrated control system of outpatient pharmacy after it is verified by the pharmacist, and the medicines then can be delivered automatically to the pharmacist at the front desk via the conveyor belt. The two belts are indeed the two automatic channels in which one is used as the real-time delivery channel (boxed drug), i.e. the boxed drug can be sent to the pharmacist at the front desk in 8-10 seconds. The other belt is used as the pre-dispensing channel which may collect automatically the single-dose subpacked drugs and boxed drugs from packing machine or drugs from refrigerator and injection cabinet, and sent the drugs to the pharmacists at the front desk automatically through the conveyor belt. The drugs can then be delivered to the patients after they are checked by the pharmacists at the front desk. These channels are the only ones in China.

Theoretically, the medicines taken from Taixin Hospital by the patients should be in the status of “the drug is ready before the patient reaches the pharmacy”. However, for the safety of drug administration, there is an additional verification step inserted by the pharmacist at the front desk and the service to communicate the precautions of drug usage with the patients is added as well. The e-queuing system prompted uncle Sun to take the medicines at front desk 4 where he was given a bunch of drug bags for which the pharmacist told him that each of the bags was the dose to be used for one meal and he only torn out a bag to use at the administration time labeled on them. The chief pharmacist Yu Yahong said that the pharmacists should take the basket to find the drugs like their pharmacy and most of the pharmacies before, “now we have more time to communicate with the patients”. Yu Yahong said and handed the drugs over to uncle Sun and told him that there was anticoagulant in the drugs he took; if the signs such as gum bleeding occurred, he could not quit the drug, and if there was more bleedings, he must visit the hospital to consult the doctor if the dose could be decreased or the drug could be replaced. Yu Yahong told the reporter that the set of automatic system in the pharmacy reduces significantly the waiting time of patient. At present, the number of prescriptions processed daily in Taixin Hospital is over 600 and the time that the patient spends to take the medicine is 8-10 minutes (boxed drug); however, the time is 2-3 minutes now, or approx. 10 minutes to take the medicine even if the drugs are packed based on the meal for the patient.

Decrease the number of drug dealers to avoid that the price increases by layers

At the back-end of pharmacy, the auto-drug dispenser operates like the vending machine in which the computer pushes the drugs required by the patient to the conveyor belt automatically to send straightly to the pharmacist. The pharmacy becomes the “production line” of medicines and this is the result of Internet of Things established in Taixin Hospital. There are only two staffs working at the back-end of pharmacy whose main task is to replenish the appropriate drugs for the machine according to the prompts on the computer. However, these two staffs are not the employees of Taixin Hospital, who in fact are from Sinopharm (Tianjin) Group Co. Ltd. According to the president of Taixin Hospital, the pharmacy of Taixin Hospital is Zero Inventory so that the drug logistics management system of hospital has been established between the hospital and the main supplier, Sinopharm (Tianjin) Group Co. Ltd. in which the previous drug supply chain from the pharmaceutical factory, several dealers, hospital to patient is shortened as the one from the pharmaceutical factory, a dealer to patient. The several intermediate dealers have been reduced to one dealer to shorten the supply chain and avoid the price increasing gradually. Moreover, the hospital doesn’t prepay the money for the procurement of medicines and thus the burden of the hospital is relieved.

The Internet of Things was firstly operated in the outpatient and emergency pharmacy in Taixin Hospital which can not only improve the medical security, but also establish the one-to-one cooperation mode between the hospital and the large dealer which may put an end to the grey income of drugs. Furthermore, for the correctness of drug dispensing, the bar code of drug should be scanned and confirmed before the boxed drugs from the packing machine are placed on-board in addition to the verification by pharmacist; thus the correct species of drug dispensing can be ensured during the drug loading and delivery. The error of similar drug dispensing and error of dispensing number which occurs easily in the dispensing by the pharmacy staff previously have been cleared, and the dispensing error of prescription was also fixed. “FIFO” of drug has been realized as the lot number and expiry date is entered via the various ways such as 2D code, bar code and picture. Moreover, the system may provide automatically the information of drugs with near-expiry-date as the special delivery port is provided for the drugs with near-expiry-date in the device, thus such drugs will be off the shelf automatically to eliminate the possibility that the drugs with near-expiry-date or expired drugs are delivered to the patient. (Reporter Wang Zuling)




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