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

, CEO, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "The automated pharmacy helps us achieve that and at the same time, advance our mission as a leading teaching hospital and research institution."

Studies have shown that technology, including barcoding and computerized physician entry, as well as changes in hospital processes for medication management, can help reduce errors. The pharmacy also will enable UCSF to study new ways of medication delivery with the goal of sharing that knowledge with other hospitals across the country.

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.

By using robots instead of people for previous manual tasks, pharmacists and nurses will have more time to work with physicians to determine the best drug therapy for a patient, and to monitor patients for clinical response and adverse drug reactions. In addition, the new pharmacy offers a rich training ground for pharmacy students in the medication distribution systems of the future.

"UCSF led the way in training clinical pharmacists, who focus on the patient rather than the drug product," said Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, dea
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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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