Ro­bots em­ployed by phar­macy

Taupo Times - - FRONT PAGE -

ROBERT STEVEN Ro­bots have ar­rived in Taupo¯ , but luck­ily, their fac­ul­ties are limited to count­ing pills.

Unichem Main Street and Taupo¯ Health Cen­tre’s phar­macy have brought in CRETEM dis­pens­ing ro­bots from South Korea.

Phar­ma­cist Ay­man Ibousi said phar­ma­cists en­ter a pre­scrip­tion into the com­puter and the ro­bots au­to­mat­i­cally dis­pense the spec­i­fied num­ber of pills into a con­tainer, like a vend­ing ma­chine.

‘‘Some peo­ple are on 180 of those [pills], 120 of those, so it al­lows us to be with the pa­tient more,’’ he said.

‘‘We can now con­cen­trate on check­ing the pre­scrip­tion and on coun­selling the pa­tient, rather than count­ing.’’

Pre­vi­ously, find­ing, count­ing and dis­pens­ing pills took be­tween 2 and 5 min­utes per pa­tient. When 100+ pa­tients are served in a day, this equates to hours of time saved, Il­bousi said.

The ‘ro­bot’ vend­ing ma­chines keep track of all pills dis­pensed, too, he said.

‘‘You can’t re­ally make a mis­take on there. It keeps track of all the dis­penses for au­dits, so it’s very kosher as well.’’

While the ma­chines can­not talk or walk, they are con­sid­ered ro­bots in the phar­macy world.

‘‘If you say you have a ro­bot, phar­ma­cists will know what you mean,’’ the Univer­sity of Ota­goe­d­u­cated phar­ma­cist said.

‘‘Most phar­ma­cies [in New Zealand] will have them, but we’re the first in Taupo¯ .’’

Elec­tronic pre­scrip­tions may be of­fered some­time in the fu­ture, the Il­bousi said.

‘‘One piece of cool tech­nol­ogy we have cur­rently is the Phar­min­der re­peat sys­tem, which au­to­mat­i­cally text cus­tomers about re­peats and re­minds peo­ple about medicine which is go­ing to ex­pire.’’

The best part about be­ing a phar­ma­cist in Taupo¯ was the va­ri­ety of work, he said.

‘‘I love see­ing the im­pact that we have on pa­tients lives.

‘‘My pro­fes­sion al­lows me to help the most vul­ner­a­ble.’’


Unichem Main Street phar­ma­cist Ay­man Il­bousi says the Cretem MTC dis­pens­ing ma­chine (left) will save hours on count­ing pills.

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