Orange Regional Medical Center has installed a robotic medication dispensing system located in the pharmacy of the Horton campus, called Robot-Rx, which automates the storage, dispensing, returning, restocking and crediting of bar-coded medications for patients in the hospital. The $1.2 million robot was made possible, in part, by a New York State Economic Development grant received through the assistance of Senator John Bonacic.
The system’s robotic arm dispenses each patient’s medication into small bags of individual doses in the pharmacy. Once all prescriptions ordered have been filled by the robot, they are distributed by a pharmacy employee on special carts to each patient unit. Since this system removes the need to have a pharmacist or pharmacy technician manually fill and check prescriptions and medication carts, each pharmacy employee will have more time to support clinical activities and streamline inventory management. Pharmacists will then be readily available to work with the doctors and nurses on each patient floor as needed.
Before the pharmacy robot was installed, Orange Regional pharmacy staff had to manually process and then deliver patient medication. As the robot has the ability to work 24 hours a day, it allows Orange Regional’s pharmacy to keep a consistent medication inventory on each patient unit. The robot can store more than 25,000 medications and can recognize and reject expired medications or medications with unreadable bar-codes.
“Now that we have Robot-Rx involved as an integral part of our pharmacy workflow, our pharmacists and technicians can focus more on clinical activities and improving the quality of patient care,” said Lana Stierle, pharmacy director. “The system’s unparalleled precision and unmatched functionality has increased medication and patient safety in our hospital, and that’s what matters the most.”