Innovating in Healthcare: Automated Medication Management in Hospitals

This text is based on the article Automation of in-hospital pharmacy dispensing: a systematic review, Originally published in PubMed Central on 21 April 2020

In the realm of hospital medication management, numerous steps are involved – from prescribing to administering the medicine to the patient. Data show how this process is susceptible to errors and inefficiencies. Recently, there has been growing interest in utilizing technology to automate these procedures, particularly in hospital pharmacies. The NHS (UK National Health Service) has initiated the Hospital Pharmacy Transformation programme, aiming to enhance efficiency and reduce errors by introducing automated systems.

To explore the impact of these Automated Dispensing Systems (ADS), a comprehensive study was conducted. 'Automation of in-hospital pharmacy dispensing: a systematic review' focuses on how they affect the distribution of medicines. The findings are quite remarkable – these automated systems, whether in the primary pharmacy or on the hospital ward, surpass the effectiveness of traditional manual methods. For individuals dealing with cancer, this translates to a decrease in medication errors, less time spent obtaining medicines, and even potential cost savings. It's essentially an upgrade to the entire process.

However, as is often the case, there's a catch. The study emphasises the need for more information. While it is promising that these systems appear to work well, additional solid data are required for a definitive conclusion. This is crucial because it assists hospitals in determining whether investing in these advanced systems is worthwhile. In essence, automating the medication distribution process in hospitals appears to be a significant advancement, particularly for cancer care.

This text is part of the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) repository of best practices and innovations to address the cancer workforce crisis in Europe. You can find more examples of best practices here.