UCSF Robotic Pharmacy Video

The University of California San Francisco Medical Center has started using an automated hospital pharmacy, which uses robotic technology to prepare and track medications.

Not a single error has occurred in the 350,000 doses of medication prepared during the system’s recent phase in, according to UCSF Medical Center.

The robots are housed in a tightly secured, sterile environment where the automated system prepares oral and injectable medicines, including toxic chemotherapy drugs. The automation frees UCSF pharmacists and nurses to focus more of their expertise on direct patient care, according to the medical center.

Once computers at the new pharmacy electronically receive medication orders from UCSF physicians and pharmacists, the robotics pick, package, and dispense individual doses of pills. Machines assemble doses onto a thin plastic ring that contains all the medications for a patient for a 12-hour period, which is bar-coded. This fall, nurses at UCSF Medical Center will begin to use barcode readers to scan the medication at patients’ bedsides, verifying it is the correct dosage for the patient.

The automated system also compounds sterile preparations of chemotherapy and non-chemotherapy doses and fills IV syringes or bags with the medications. An automated inventory management system keeps track of all the products, and one refrigerated and two non-refrigerated automated pharmacy warehouses provide storage and retrieval of medications and supplies.

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