Lyster's pharmacy upgrades to new medication refill robots
December 5, 2013
New medication dispensing machines will soon be humming and clicking away inside Lyster Army Health Clinic's pharmacy.
The new machines, seven in total valued at about half a million dollars, arrived last weekend and bring the automation pharmacy up to date with the latest in medication dispensing technology.
Six "mini" units, capable of receiving up to nine different medications at a time, and one large unit-the "max", exclusively for refills and capable of receiving up to three medications at a time, will make up the new robotics center of pharmacy.
"Patients can now look forward to shortened wait times and quicker refills on medications, said Lt. Col. Tai Bolaji, chief of pharmacy for LAHC.
The new machines were originally going to be installed in the new pharmacy, but the command team decided to bring them in early and place them at the temporary location. This not only gives the staff time to get used to the new machines, but it will also speed up the prescription medication process for all patients.
"Our updated equipment will allow us to program the new robots to refill hundreds of medications each night to be ready for our patients in the morning," he said.
Pharmacy technicians will also be able to quickly fill new prescriptions and have them ready in less time.
"The pharmacy tech and staff pharmacist can input the prescriptions on the computer and the medications will be filled into the bottles and packaged in minutes, not hours," Bolaji said.
The best days to visit the pharmacy are Mondays and Tuesdays. The busiest times are during lunch, when the pharmacy is down staff due to lunch breaks.
"Last month, 62 percent of our beneficiaries were served in less than 15 minutes, with 38 percent being served in less than 68 minutes," Bolaji said.
People who bring in prescriptions from outside the clinic, usually waiter longer, Bolaji said, because some people bring in 10-25 prescriptions at a time.
"The handwritten prescriptions take time especially when you have to carefully review and type those prescriptions into the computer," he said. "If there is a problem with clarity, dosage, dosage form or drug interaction we have to stop and call the network providers before the prescription can be processed and dispensed."
As always, safety is the most important aspect of dispensing and the LAHC pharmacy has an excellent track record of no significant medical errors due to dispensing.