Swisslogs introduces next-gen RoboCurrier Autonomous Mobile Robot

Swisslog has been making these little robots for a long time, although I don’t see many of them in the wild these days.

They’re pretty cool in their own right. The robots themselves are reasonably small. The previous version was only 35-inches tall, and weighed in around 100 pounds. But they could carry up to 50 pounds worth of cargo and could navigate around the hospital completely on autopilot. I’m not entirely sure, but I believe they use RFID technology to navigate.

[Update 08 01 2013]: According to Swisslog the RoboCurrier “utilizes an obstacle avoidance system and mapping software that’s set up during installation“.

One of the coolest features though is use of a prerecorded message to announce its arrival.

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What the NECC fiasco means for automation in pharmacy IV rooms

According to the CDC website, the fungal meningitis outbreak linked to a tainted batch of steroid injections made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts has resulted in more than 500 case reports and 36 deaths (as of November 28, 2012).

A lot of things happen when something like this occurs. People become fearful, regulatory agencies begin to scrutinize processes and practices, organizations like ASHP begin to formulate statements and create plans to deal with questions and backlash, healthcare systems begin to reconsider how they do things, and people begin to change the way they think. It’s a natural progression. I’ve seen it happen more than once during my career; never to this extent, but I’ve seen it before. It typically leads to practice changes and an entirely new market for consultants.

The NECC case has caused quite a stir in the pharmacy community. I’ve seen a wild swing in topics of discussion among pharmacists in the acute care setting, i.e. hospitals. Two things in particular have caught my attention: 1) all of a sudden everyone is worried about compounding safety in the IV room, and 2) everyone is talking about robotics. I’ve talked to a couple of friends that are still practicing pharmacy and they are “in the process of looking at IV robots”. Both cited NECC as the reason for their new interest in robotics.

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Health Robotics ASHP Midyear press release includes mention of RFID

I came across this press release yesterday. The press release is from Health Robotics, a company that builds and distributes automation and technology aimed squarely at the I.V. room. Their product line includes several robots designed for specialized I.V. room compounding, including i.v.STATION ONCO, i.v.STATION, CytoCare and TPNstation. It looks like the company is taking … Read more

Saturday morning coffee [August 18 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right is my trophy for winning the 2010 ASHP Midyear Twitter contest. It was the second year in a row that I was voted winner of the Midyear tweeting contest. I have since retired. The mug was accompanied by a $50 Best Buy gift card. I can’t remember what I purchased with the gift card, but I’m sure it was something cool.

- The Bourne Legacy was the new #1 at the box office last weekend, knocking the Dark Knight Rises off its perch. My family and I saw it. It was good, but not great. I would see it again. The problem with a new Bourne movie is that Matt Damon is who I think of when someone says “Bourne” regardless of whether or not the movie is about his character. Don’t expect The Bourne Legacy to sit in the number one spot for long. I think The Expendables 2 will likely take over the top spot next week. I’ll certainly help it gain the title as it’s on my movie agenda for this weekend.

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Robots better than human surgeons? Maybe…maybe not.

MedPage Today: “Robotic prostatectomy has spread all over the U.S., despite the fact that we don’t have clinical trial data to show that it’s better than traditional open surgery.  The company marketing the robotic surgery systems boasts on its website about news coverage from ABC’s “Good Morning America” and from CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  And, … Read more

Cool Pharmacy Technology–Apoteca

I have a soft spot for robotics, especially for IV preparation. I’m not quite sure that pharmacy is ready to fully embrace the idea, but we’re well on our way.

APOTECAchemo is an IV preparation robot modeled in the image of i.v.STATION. Prior to yesterday I had not heard of APOTECA. Fortunately someone visiting my site left me a link to the U.S. website. The site contains limited information with the exception of the video below. However, a quick internet search led me to the Loccioni Humancare website where I was able to find additional information.

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Cleanrooms – the forgotten realm of acute care pharmacy

Cleanroom environments, a.k.a. IV rooms, inside acute care pharmacies compound some of the most complex and dangerous medications used inside a hospital. Unfortunately this area is often overlooked when implementing safety features such as bar-code verification, identification of high-alert medications, advanced training and competency and so on. I was reminded of the dangers of intravenous products by a recent story coming out of Alabama where the death of 9 patients was linked to TPN (total parenteral nutrition) contaminated with Serratia marcenscens.

While IV rooms remain a high risk area they tend to fall off the radar of many hospital administrators when it comes to implementing technology capable of reducing risk. USP <797> tends to get all the glory even though much of the guidelines proposed in this USP chapter have yet to be shown any more effective than diligent hand washing and impeccable technique.

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Cool pharmacy technology – UCSF Robotics

UCSF: “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 … Read more