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Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2011 Jan 1;68(1):77-83. doi: 10.2146/ajhp100012.

Use of pharmacy delivery robots in intensive care units.

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Pharmacy, University of Maryland Medical Center, 20 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



The use of pharmacy delivery robots in an institution's intensive care units was evaluated.


In 2003, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) began a pilot program to determine the logistic capability and functional utility of robotic technology in the delivery of medications from satellite pharmacies to patient care units. Three satellite pharmacies currently used the robotic system. Five data sources (electronic robot activation records, logs, interviews, surveys, and observations) were used to assess five key aspects of robotic delivery: robot use, reliability, timeliness, cost minimization, and acceptance. A 19-item survey using a 7-point Likert-type scale was developed to determine if pharmacy delivery robots changed nurses' perception of pharmacy service. The components measured included general satisfaction, reliability, timeliness, stat orders, services, interaction with pharmacy, and status tracking. A total of 23 pre-implementation, 96 post-implementation, and 30 two-year follow-up surveys were completed. After implementation of the robotic delivery system, time from fax to label, order preparation time, and idle time for medications to be delivered decreased, while nurses' general satisfaction with the pharmacy and opinion of the reliability of pharmacy delivery significantly increased. Robotic delivery did not influence the perceived quality of delivery service or the timeliness of orders or stat orders. Robot reliability was a major issue for the technician but not for pharmacists, who did not have as much interaction with the devices.


By considering the needs of UMMC and its patients and matching them with available technology, the institution was able to improve the medication-use process and timeliness of medication departure from the pharmacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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