Asia's first Pharmacy Robot to be installed at Bumrungrad International

Bangkok 15 March 2008Bumrungrad International will operate a complete packaging, storage and dispensing system that barcodes unit-dose medications on-site. This state-of-the-art, fully-automated drug management system by Swisslog - often called a "Pharmacy Robot" - is the first of its kind in Asia. Bumrungrad International will use it to improve care and safety for its patients.


The preparation and dispensing of medications in hospitals is inherently complex. There can be more than 100 steps from the time a prescription is written to the time a patient receives the medications. Technology has the potential to reduce medication errors by reducing complexity, avoiding over-reliance on memory, simplifying key process, and, if designed and implemented properly, increasing efficiency. It can also be a cost-effective tool for improving quality. The system will allow highly-trained pharmacists and technicians to spend less time on routine tasks, and more time on patient care.

Automated packaging and dispensing systems for filling patient orders are becoming common in United States hospitals as a result of increased public knowledge about medication errors. Bar coding helps reduce medication errors during dispensing and administration. A unit-dose drug is created when a single drug is taken from its bulk container and placed into a labeled package. Bar coding of unit doses enables hospitals to implement bedside verification systems, whereby a nurse is assisted with technology in administration of drugs to patients. In a typical administration cycle utilizing bedside verification, a nurse will scan the barcode on the unit dose and scan the patient's chart or wristband in order ensure that the "five rights" are met: right patient, right drug, right dose, right route, and right time.

Bumrungrad International CEO Mr. Mack Banner explained how the hospital's expansion led to the adoption of the new Swisslog pharmacy automation technology. "Our new clinic building is designed to double our capacity from 3500 outpatients per day to 6500, while increasing in-patient capacity by over 25 percent. This advanced Pharmacy Robot will allow us to provide efficient service to more patients, efficiently and safely."

Dr. Karoon Mekanontchai, Bumrungrad International's Medical Director, added: "The automated drug management system is part of the hospital's continuing commitment to quality, including patient safety. This robotic system will reduce dispensing errors arising from incorrect pack selection through bar code product identification. This system should increase patients' confidence in the hospital's quality."

Mr. Charlie Kegley, President of Swisslog Healthcare Solutions Division, added: "Swisslog's Automated Drug Management System (ADMS) is a fully automated unit-dose packaging, storage, and dispensing system which improves pharmacy productivity and enhances patient safety. This system has been used by over 30 customers around the world and Bumrungrad International is the first in Asia having a Swisslog system operating."

Patrick Downing, Product Unit Manager (HIS/RIS/PACS) at Microsoft's Health Solutions Group, noted: "Patient safety is a critical objective for our health care software products. In working with Swisslog pharmacy robotics and the Microsoft CPOE and Medication Management modules, we have provided a comprehensive closed-loop system that will enable accurate and timely drug delivery at Bumrungrad International."

Bumrungrad International treats more than 1,2 million patients from 190 different countries each year and uses the Microsoft Amalga Hospital Information System to efficiently manage clinical work flow, billing, regulatory compliance, and medical records. "The Amalga system will interface with the Swisslog software to deliver efficient and integrated pharmacy management", commented Mr. Downing.

Bumrungrad International is Southeast Asia's premier private hospital and a regional referral centre for advanced care, offering 554 beds, 30 speciality centres, 940 medical specialists and over 800 nurses. It is Asia's first JCI accredited hospital and serves more than one million patients yearly from 190 different countries.

Leslie Versweyveld

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