Cool Technology for Pharmacy

ROBOT-Rx® from McKesson is a robotic pharmacy system that automates many of the day to day operations that a technician may perform in a hospital pharmacy, such as medication storage, selection, return, restock, and crediting.

From the manufacturer’s site:

Every year, more than a half billion medications are dispensed error-free by ROBOT-Rx systems installed in hospitals mckesson_robotthroughout North America. Patient-specific medications are dispensed into cassettes or envelopes, facilitating cart fill, first dose, stat and now deliveries. The ROBOT-Rx also supports cabinet restocking and medication deliveries to multiple hospital sites.

The ROBOT-Rx system provides a real-time, enterprise-wide picture of medications stored, dispensed, credited and administered through the system. The robot continuously tracks all online and offline inventory, checks itself for expired and slow-moving medications and generates restocking reports.Every year, more than a half billion medications are dispensed error-free by ROBOT-Rx systems installed in hospitals throughout North America. Patient-specific medications are dispensed into cassettes or envelopes, facilitating cart fill, first dose, stat and now deliveries. The ROBOT-Rx also supports cabinet restocking and medication deliveries to multiple hospital sites.

The ROBOT-Rx system provides a real-time, enterprise-wide picture of medications stored, dispensed, credited and administered through the system. The robot continuously tracks all online and offline inventory, checks itself for expired and slow-moving medications and generates restocking reports.

I’ve recently been moonlighting at a hospital that uses the McKesson Robot-Rx system. It gets a “10” for coolness, but I haven’t been impressed with its performance. Because the robotic system utilizes barcoded medications designed for storage on peg racks, many medications require additional packaging (over-wrapping) prior to stocking (see images below). The over-wrapping requires a lot of extra technician time and labor, as well as pharmacist time to check. The system is certainly an advance in automation, but I prefer the carousel technology I use at my full-time gig.

Robot-Rx overwrapping - Front (left) and Back (right)
Robot-Rx over-wrapping - Front (left) and Back (right)

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