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Dubai Debuts Second Robotic Pharmacy Service

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 28 Aug 2017
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Image: The DHA inaugurates a smart pharmacy robot for dispensing medicines in Dubai Hospital (Photo courtesy of the DHA).
Image: The DHA inaugurates a smart pharmacy robot for dispensing medicines in Dubai Hospital (Photo courtesy of the DHA).
Dubai Health Authority (DHA; UAE) has unveiled a second robotic pharmacy system that can store up to 35,000 medicines and dispense twelve prescriptions in less than a minute. It is located at Dubai Hospital (UAE), following the launch of the service at Rashid Hospital in early 2017.

The system uses a barcode system, and is completely paper-free as the robot stores each prescription as soon as it is issued electronically. The smart pharmacy system also monitors stored pharmaceuticals in order to maintain quality and safety of medicines, and especially temperature, in order to guarantee a continuous “cold chain” that can be followed on smart devices and tablets.

“Monitoring of temperature, especially when it comes to medication, is one of the biggest challenges that international health organizations face because it directly affects the quality, safety, and efficacy of the medication,” said Humaid Al Qatami, chairman of the board and director general of the DHA. “The robot is one of the latest smart technologies adopted by the authority to meet its 2016-2021 strategy, which aims to use innovative technologies to achieve a happy and healthy society in Dubai.”

The robotic pharmacy system rollout was times to coincide with the second phase of Salama, a unified electronic medical record (EMR) system developed by the DHA which will go live in August 2017 at all primary healthcare centers across the emirate, including Dubai Hospital and the Dubai Diabetes Centre (UAE; www.dha.gov.ae/en/SpecialtyCentres/DubaiDiabetesCenter/Pages/About.aspx). The system will soon process all pharmaceutical transactions in DHA hospitals and health centers in Dubai, incorporating the barcode smart system introduced in the UAE in April 2016.

“The speed of the robot dispensing prescriptions will reduce waiting times for patients,” said Ali Al Sayed, director of the DHA pharmaceutical services department. “With the robot dispensing the medication, pharmacists will be able to focus on giving customers the correct instructions on how to take the medication.”

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