image credit: WSLS
Robots are becoming more commonplace inside hospitals whether it be supporting nurses, making deliveries or even performing surgery. At one hospital in Virginia, two new robots are helping to prepare medications.
Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital has recently employed robots Don and Doff to work in their pharmacy. The two are mixing and preparing about 14 different IV medications for inhouse patients. They follow the same regulations as human pharmacists as they work in a completely enclosed sterile environment. The only human interaction is when the robots need to be loaded.
Pharmacy Robots Precision Eliminates Chance for Human Error
The benefit of using robots is that dosages are precise as the medicine is delivered the same way each time. This helps eliminate the chance of human error. Every mixture and robot movement is pre-programmed.
“It’s very precise, so it delivers the exact medicine the exact same way every time. It’s multi-factorial. Safety is one, efficiency is another, and the other thing is accuracy,” said Cheryl Boone, Pharmacy Admixture Manager at Carilion Clinic.
Carilion Makes 42,000 Prescriptions Each Month
Along with making sure the doses are perfect, the robots help the hospital save money. Carilion makes 42,000 prescriptions for patients monthly, and now the robots will help with about 10,000 of those. This cuts out the middle man as medications can be mixed inhouse so the pharmacy doesn’t have to pay or wait for another company to produce them.
“Now with the robots, we don’t have to pay companies to make them for us. We can make them ourselves. We produce about 1,400 hundred doses a day, 42,000 doses a month comes out of this room to outpatients here,” said Boone.
Robots Can Help Free Up Hospital Workers
According to the hospital, Don and Doff won’t be replacing any human workers but freeing them up for other tasks. Carilion Roanoke is the second hospital in Virginia to use the robots.
“If I can get the robots to produce this, I can allocate resources to do other things that are much needed in our environment,” Boone added.