Robots to pack drugs for hospital patients

Robots to pack drugs for hospital patients

By Merc_Reporter  |  Posted: January 29, 2015

An Italian company is to run a scheme to transform the way drugs are stored and given to patients at Leicester’s hospitals.

Robots will be used to pack drugs into individual doses and a bar code system for nurses will make sure the right patient gets the right drug.

It will be run by the Italian company Ingegneria Biomedica Santa Lucia and IBSL (UK) Ltd.

The equipment and management is being funded by IBSL and the project will run for nine months on four renal wards at Leicester General Hospital to see how it works.

If it is a success it will be expanded to include Leicester Royal infirmary and Glenfield Hospital.

Graeme Hall, deputy chief pharmacist at Leicester’s hospitals, said the new system should help to reduce errors in prescriptions and wastage and so allow more time for patient care.

He added: “Almost every hospital patient will receive medication of some sort, and on a typical day in Leicester, that can mean 20,000 individual medicine prescriptions, dispensing and administration so it is imperative that we do that as safely and as efficiently as possible.

“This project will bring huge benefits to our patients and staff, with fewer errors as we can ensure the right medication and dose gets to the right patient on time.

“We will also save money by not wasting unused drugs.”

Mr Hall said that the system could pave the way to improving medicines management across the NHS.

The robot repackages medications into individual doses with a unique barcode and stores it in a locked cabinet.

A trolley then locks into the cabinet and transfers the medication needed on the wards.

When a nurse scans the patient’s barcode wristband the relevant drawer on the trolley automatically unlocks.

If the barcode on the packet does not tally with the patient’s wristband the computer will reject the medication.

Paolo Giglio, a director os IBSL (UK) said: “We are convinced that in tandem with the hospitals the project, through an innovative use of software and robotics, will introduce change for the better. IBSL is grateful for this opportunity to work with Leicester’s hospitals.”

The new unit at Leicester General Hospital was formally opened by the Italian Ambassador to the UK, Pasquale Terracciano.


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