Two state-of-the-art “robots” that combined can dispense 1200 prescriptions per hour and thereby can significantly reduce the amount of time patients spend waiting for their medications at the pharmacy were inaugurated at the Hamad General Hospital (HGH).

The biggest of its kind in the region, the MACH 4 Omnicell robot system, was officially opened by HE Dr. Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health.

The new robotic pharmacy system will be able to dispense 1200 medications each hour and will enable HMC’s pharmacists to spend more one-on-one time with each patient. The new equipment will be fully integrated with the new Clinical Information System (CIS), meaning a better patient experience and less likelihood of human error in reading the scripts.

It is the second automated pharmacy system installed in an HMC hospital, with a similar one operating at Al Wakra Hospital.

The system is actually two robots combined – the Medimat and the Speedbox which work together to manage dispensary for both complex prescriptions as well as for fast moving items that are in high demand. The total stock capacity for both is 14,000 packs.

“This will mean a shorter wait time for our patients and our highly trained pharmacists will be able to spend more time with each patient, imparting vital information and education about their medications,” said HE Dr. Hanan al-Kuwari.

“We are always looking at ways to improve the patient experience and this is an excellent example of this commitment. New technology, services and processes have been implemented to improve quality and patient experience at all HMC hospitals and facilities."

HMC’s focus on continuous improvement and quality was recently recognised by the Joint Commission International (JCI) when HMC became the first healthcare system across the globe to have all of its hospitals accredited by the JCI under the Academic Medical Center program.

The new system has the capacity to not only dispense the medications in a more timely manner, but it can carry two days’ supply of medications, reducing the need to “downtime” to restock. It also has a special section for “fast moving medications” for conditions like diabetes and blood pressure which can be dispensed quickly.

Dr. Haleema al-Tamimi, Director of Pharmacy at HGH, said under the previous manual system, around 1800 prescriptions were handled daily.

“The implementation of this technology means we will be able to dispense medications more efficiently,” Dr. al- Tamimi said adding: “When integrated with the CIS, which goes live at the HGH soon, patients will only have to show their health card to pharmacy staff to receive their medications, making for a more seamless patient experience.”