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New UCSF robotic pharmacy aims to improve patient safety
Date:3/7/2011

Although it won't be obvious to UCSF Medical Center patients, behind the scenes a family of giant robots now counts and processes their medications. With a new automated hospital pharmacy, believed to be the nation's most comprehensive, UCSF is using robotic technology and electronics to prepare and track medications with the goal of improving patient safety.

Not a single error has occurred in the 350,000 doses of medication prepared during the system's recent phase in.

The robots tower over humans, both in size and ability to deliver medications accurately. Housed in a tightly secured, sterile environment, the automated system prepares oral and injectable medicines, including toxic chemotherapy drugs. In addition to providing a safer environment for pharmacy employees, the automation also frees UCSF pharmacists and nurses to focus more of their expertise on direct patient care.

The new pharmacy is the hub of UCSF's integrated medication management system which combines state-of the-art technology with personalized care.

"The automated pharmacy streamlines medication delivery from prescription to patient," said Lynn Paulsen, PharmD, director of pharmaceutical services at UCSF Medical Center. "It was important to develop a system that is integrated from end to end. Each step in safe, effective medication therapy from determining the most appropriate drug for an individual patient to administering it is contingent on the other."

The new pharmacy currently serves UCSF hospitals at Parnassus and Mount Zion and has the capacity to dispense medications for the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, scheduled to open in 2014. As the phase-in continues, additional steps in the process will be eliminated as doctors begin inputting prescriptions directly into computers in 2012.

"We are intent on finding new ways to improve the quality and safety of our care, while increasing patient satisfaction," said Mark Laret
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Contact: Karin Rush-Monroe
karin.rush-monroe@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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