The future of medication compounding is taking place at Uppsala University Hospital. And it’s automated.

More and more European pharmacies are purchasing compounding robots to prepare individual medication. As the first hospital in Sweden, Uppsala University Hospital (Akademiska sjukhuset) has installed its robot to prepare cytostatics and other highly-potent intravenous drugs. Increased automation and related new medical technology benefit both patient safety and the work environment.

Uppsala University Hospital prepares large volumes of medicines every year, including about 17,500 cytotoxic infusions. That staff no longer has to mix cytostatics manually has many advantages, not least for the working environment. Preparation takes place in a closed safety bench so personnel don’t risk exposure to toxic vapors. Automation also increases traceability, which is positive for patient safety.

Another advantage is fewer monotonous tasks and greater time-savings for pharmacists, who can now get out and about in the hospital and work with more important pharmaceutical issues,” says Mattias Paulsson, himself a pharmacist working with the introduction of drug-handling automation, in a press release from Uppsala University Hospital dated 20th December 2018.

Sets a new standard for efficient and patient-safe drug preparation

Even a robot needs regular check-ups
This particular project even includes other advanced medical technology. For instance, since it’s important that the robot itself is validated regularly regarding drugs and their concentration, a DrugLog device from Pharmacolog is installed close by.

It’s vital to verify that the robot maintains a high and even drug-preparation quality, especially following maintenance work, and this is where DrugLog plays a key role“, notes Mattias Paulsson.

What new challenges does increased automation bring?
The benefits of automation and innovative med tech are numerous and many risks are reduced. But new issues also arise: what happens if the robot is down and you are forced to prepare drugs manually, for example?

I think there will always be a need to keep manual compounding skills alive, and this can be done by regular training and education,” says Kent Öbrink, Sales & Marketing Manager at Pharmacolog.

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