Background Innovation and new technologies help reduce the rate of medication errors and maximise efficiency in the drug administration system thus improving the safety and quality of patient care. In the market there are various automation systems, all of which are costly.
Purpose To analyse two storage and dispensing automation systems in order to make a decision to improve the safety, efficiency and quality of medicines use in our hospital.
Materials and Methods Review of two systems: A) fully integrated robotic automation (fully enclosed storage modules that automatically generate individual dosage units (DUs) grouped into rings per patient), and B) system with different components (semi-automatic storage and cart-filling system, plus storage tanks filling, automatic dispensing systems (DAS) in inpatient units, plus outpatient medicines automation and repackaging). We analysed the resources currently available and the benefits of the two systems. DUs consumed in 2011 were examined and classified by pharmaceutical form, volume, storage conditions and whether they can be dispensed to outpatients or not. High volume solutions and enteral nutrition were excluded. The costs used in the analysis are the sum of the quotes received from suppliers, excluding maintenance costs. The same level of human resources was assumed. Costs were expressed as additional costs per number of DUs dispensed under each system.
Results 16.213.352 DUs were dispensed in 2011 in connexion with 2971 drugs (40% could be dispensed to outpatients). Advantages and disadvantages of the two systems are listed in the Table.
Conclusions The integrated robotics system (system A) appears to be a safer, more versatile and more efficient system providing more information than system B, which provides greater accessibility for nursing. The cost analysis is slightly favours system A. One limitation of the study is that the costs of maintenance and the human resources reengineering required need to be further explored.
No conflict of interest.
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