As from next year the medicines store at Mater Dei Hospital is to implement an automatic robotic system that will eventually lead to the distribution of medicines to patients recovering in hospital.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne said this will involve an investment of €11 million and is already being used in hospitals overseas, a system that will benefit patients and improve hospital efficiency.
The project for an automatic robotic distribution system is planned over a period of three years. While announcing the project the Minister gave an assurance that even through the use of robots the greatest assurance and security will be taken in the interests of patients and will reduce the work of nurses. Dr Fearne said that although the system is new to Malta it is already being used in hospitals overseas.
The Minister’s consultant, Michael Farrugia, said that by 2021 the system will be operative in the hospital’s 46 wards. He said the system, known as Pillpick, is programmed to assure that patients will be given the right medicine as prescribed by doctors.
He explained that as soon as a doctor writes a prescription this is registered in the system. The robot will collect the medicine according to the patient’s identity while software will analyse all information connected to the patient and will transfer the medicine to the ward where the patient is recovering. Thus, this will replace the current day’s manual system of distribution.
The nurse will read a bracelet on the patient and the information will go to the robot and the robot will assure the required medicine goes to the right patient.
Michael Farrugia said the system will enable distribution and human resource to become more efficient and will reduce the waste of medicine.
Minister Fearne said there will be two robots in the medicines store, two more in the hospital pharmacy and 18 robots throughout the hospital. The Minister said that once the system is operating at Mater Dei it will be extended to other health systems.