Brief description of the topic
The new technological improvements have brought a number of changes in every aspect of the human existence. Among the areas of humanity that have been greatly impacted by technology is the health sector, which has registered tremendous growth in the use of IT (Coleman, 2004).
One of the major technological improvements in the health sector is the robotic pharmacy system, which is rapidly gaining popularity around the world. Research shows that a good number of health facilities in the middle and upper class have engaged this technology. The technology uses robotic machines to perform pharmaceutical functions.
Positive impacts of Robotic pharmacy systems
Robotic pharmacy systems have numerous benefits especially to the health providers. Different people have raised divergent concerns with regard to the implementation of this technology in hospitals but a good percentage seems to love the idea. The system definitely has an impact on the workers and the general performance of the organization.
Citing some of the key benefits of the robotic pharmacy system, one of the most important is that it reduces the need for technical labor significantly. With such technology, health providers do not require pharmacists to give prescriptions manually.
This reduces the expense of hiring pharmacy labor and at the same time, it increases efficiency. In the medical practice, there is a need for a deliberate action to reduce the chances of errors. Robotic pharmacy systems have proven to be most effective in eradicating errors as they operate with a 99.9% medication filling accuracy.
The system continuously checks itself for expired drugs and gives a restocking report from time to time (Coleman, 2004). This reduces the chances of patients getting expired medication hence improving health services. This also lowers the cost of expired medication by 54% making it very effective in the health profession (Coleman, 2004).
The change process
Robotic systems have a self-check mechanism to identify when the system is running out of stock. Through periodic reports, the machine is able to notify the management when the stock needs to be refilled hence chances of patients missing their medications are lowered (Shack &Tulloch, 2008).
Patients spend a lot of time in queues waiting for medical checkups in hospitals and dispensaries. This is no longer necessary with the presence of robotic pharmacy technology. The system provides check up services in a faster and a more accurate way compared to the proverbial physical check up (Shack &Tulloch, 2008).
To add on the above advantages of using the robotic systems, they also use an essential bar-code-based medication procedure (Shack &Tulloch, 2008). This improves the safety of the medication, improves the productiveness of the pharmacy, and most importantly lowers the cost of operation (Shack &Tulloch, 2008).
A number of hospital pharmacies can share one robotic system. Other than reducing the cost of operation, this also makes it easier for patients to access pharmaceutical services. The above benefits of using robotic systems in pharmacies have direct impacts on the change process in the health practice.
The robotic systems have major benefits to pharmacists and they should be implemented in every health institution. The cost of living in the world today has sky rocketed and so has the cost of renting space. With this factor in mind, it has become more expensive to rent a room to set up a pharmacy.
Robotic systems have solved the issue of space since they are mostly stand-alone cabinets that require very little space to set up. The system’s design allows it to perform numerous functions to cater for the normal daily pharmacy dispensing needs (Meer, Bennie, Corcoran, & Lannigan, 2013). This has a great impact on a pharmacy’s productivity as well as the quality of life.
Obstacles in implementing the process
Normally, implementation of a new technology in a hospital is a lengthy and very challenging process (Johns, 2002). There are also technical challenges that may impede the successful implementation of the process. For instance, there may be a delay after an order has been made on a robotic system. A concerned nurse may make the same order again assuming that the first attempt was lost and this may lead to double or multiple orders (Coleman, 2004).
Nonetheless, these mechanical problems may occur occasionally but they are rare. Another great impeding factor in the implementation of robotic systems is the fact that it leads to laying-off of staff. One machine can handle a workload of a number of pharmacists hence reducing the number of staff required and consequently loss of jobs.
Before and after the process
Looking at the working environment before and after the implementation of a robotic pharmacy system, clearly the latter improves the quality of services. Without the system, there are many cases of expired medications and wastage of time in queues for check up. After the installation of a robotic system, service delivery changes the entire working environment.
Services are prompt and effective, and the system creates fewer chances for error. Implementation of robotic systems in pharmacies has brought great improvements in the health practice. Managers in the health sector should consider exploiting this technological option in order to improve their services.
Coleman, B. (2004). Hospital pharmacy staff attitudes towards automated dispensing before and after implementation, Hosp Pharm, 1 (11), 248–51.
Johns, M. (2002). Information Management for Health Care Professions. New York, NY: Delmar Publications.
Meer, R., B., Bennie, M., Corcoran, D., E. & Lannigan, N. (2013). Early-stage experiences of the implementation of a large-scale robotic storage and distribution system in a hospital pharmacy service within a large UK health authority. Retrieved from: https://ejhp.bmj.com/content/20/6/362.full
Shack, J., &Tulloch, S. (2008). Integrated pharmacy automation systems lead to increases in patient safety and significant reductions in medication inventory costs. Fairport, NY: Shack & Tulloch, Inc.