Hi-tech robot at Archbold Hospital - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hi-tech robot at Archbold Hospital

Thomasville- Archbold Hospital in Thomasville is using a robot that automatically fills prescriptions and dispenses them without any room for error.

     "Archie" the medication dispensing robot is failsafe, fast, and a piece of medical technology out of the future. "We package every thing that comes in with a site specific barcode. The robot knows what it is, its strength, manufacturer, and expiration date," says Doctor Chris Newman.

     It's that barcode that's Archie's safety net. "It's quite an investment," says Newman. It's the key part of a system throughout Archbold Hospital that is linked to each individual patient, ensuring 100% accuracy. "The nurses, before they dispense the medication to the patient ,would scan the medicine and scan the patient to check that it is an appropriate order," says Newman.

     One of the most important aspects of this robot is that Archbold isn't the only hospital that benefits from it. "Archie" also fills prescriptions for affiliate hospitals. "There's about 250 medications we consider our fast movers," says Newman.

     Those fast movers need to be refilled quickly, another of Archie's tasks that are failsafe. "In order to fill it correctly, there's no manual process to this. The drugs to be refilled are placed on pegs [that "Archie" has electronically cataloged]," says Newman.

     That's automation on the front end that saves you, and the hospital, money on the back end. "Medication safety is a big cost issue, so the hospital obviously felt that this up front cost would pay for itself in the end," says Newman. Doctors say that's an investment whose time-saving return is better care through the team concept of doctor, patient, pharmacist.

     "Archie" cost more than $1,000,000. But doctors say that's small potatoes compared to the potential cost of accidentally giving a patient the wrong medication.

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