Robotic pharmacist fills 350,000 doses of medication without mistakes

The robots can fill drugs better and faster than humans. Robots help with personalized care at one California hospital, streamlining drugs from prescription to patients.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor

A robo pharmacist that fills prescriptions without making any mistakes sounds too good to be true. But researchers at the University of California at San Francisco are doing just that: they are using robots to fill and track medications to improve patient safety.

The Robotic IV Automation (RIVA) system can prepare hazardous chemotherapy drugs. The robot, made by Canada's Intelligent Hospital Systems, was designed to fill prescriptions perfectly.

The robotic system isn't meant to replace pharmacists all together. Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy, said in a statement:

“Automated medication dispensing frees pharmacists from the mechanical aspects of the practice. This technology, with others, will allow pharmacists to use their pharmaceutical care expertise to assure that patients are treated with medicines tailored to their individual needs.”

This robo pharmacist isn't the only one in the game though. There are robots that deal drugs too, including ForHealth Technologies' IntelliFill and Swisslog's PillPick.

Robots can fill drugs faster and better than humans. It will be interesting to see how the robots assist the San Francisco-based hospital fill prescriptions from beginning to end. Will streamlining the drugs from prescription to patients help improve personalized care? In theory, the robots can help figure out the best drug for the patient and then fill the recommended prescription. I guess we will see how the robo pharmacist performs at UCSF.

Photo: University of California, San Francisco

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