Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It lives in the basement

In one of the quieter moments of my very long workday, I went for a tour of the Pharmacy. I'm trying to learn the various parts of the hospital, so this was the latest stop.

While the Pharmacy Director was giving me the tour, we passed an area where I heard a sound keep repeating. *whoosh* *whoosh* *whoosh*

I had to ask what the sound was. "That's our robot." Sure enough, down there in the basement of the hospital lurks a large, fast-moving robot. It resides in its own room and quickly fills prescription after prescription. It's driven by orders entered into the computer system that it then matches to plastic boxes coded to make their way to the right floor, unit, room and patient.

While some other hospitals now have such beasts lurking within, I learned that we were the first in New York City to have one. It can't do everything, but it sure helps speed things along and minimize mistakes.

Oh, by the way, today marked one month at the new job. It went fast, and, despite some organizational concerns, it seems to be going well.

7 comments:

T. Johnston said...

Do the hospital IT guys take turns making love to the robot? I'm sure there is a news at 7 story there!

Matt_Sweet said...

A robot? That's so cool.

Hanuman1960 said...

How does the robot know that it's dispensing the right medication?

Is there some sort of quality control?

Zeitzeuge said...

Is it possible to have that robot hooked up to my apartment and dispense Xanax and Hydrocodone?

Just curious....

sirreene said...

Does the robot rely on humans for proper placement of medication in respective dispenser areas?

Jess said...

To answer some of the questions--I'm sure human error could screw things up, but they seem to have made it as foolproof as possible. The medications are packaged into coded packages in bulk. So let's say they're preparing packets with Xanax in it (much to Zeitzeuge's joy). They'd do lots of them at once, so you can't screw up just one. In other words, it would be caught quickly.

The whole lot, then coded/marked as Xanax, is loaded into the robot's room. The robot then plucks them off as it needs, based on the bar coding. Sure, something could go wrong, but I understand that it's well over 99.9% accurate. Certainly better than most humans can manage. It doesn't get tired, distracted or to go on break. :)

Jase said...

Congrats on the one month thing..

..and don't people take the Matrix seriously?! First make them responsible for our drug perscriptions, next they turn us into heat generating batteries! It's true!