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South Africa: Automated Pharmacy Shortens Queues at Helen Joseph Hospital
Source: Issued by: Gauteng Health
Source Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Nov 26, 2013

This automated dispensing unit is made up of a dispensing, loading and storage system for medicines. It stores up to 12 000 medicines. Loading is done automatically by filing a bin fed by a conveyer belt. Barcode scanning technology ensures accurate loading and within 15 seconds, a prescription can be picked and its label printed.
The doctors write electronic scripts which are linked to the pharmacy’s patient management system.The patient brings their script to the pharmacist who checks if the medication prescribed is safe for the patient (according to their medical history). Once all is validated the pharmacist hits print and the machine then finds the medication and in less than two minutes the patient will have the medication.
Over the past year, there have been significant improvements as a result of this system. The second largest HIV treatment facility in the country, attends to about 750 patients per day. Before, they were seen from 07h30 until 20h00. These days, at 15h00 all patients are attended to and given medication.
“As a result of this innovative system, patient care has improved. Patients now receive their drugs very quickly and this leaves more time for patient counseling and patients are now more compliant to taking medicines as a result of not having to spend the whole day at the clinic,” says department’s spokesperson, Simon Zwane.
He added that this new system has eliminated theft of medicines by staff members, taking of bribes to skip queues and has freed seven pharmacy workers who use to distribute medication. They have now been placed to assist in wards.
The pharmacy also supplies medication to those patients who are also on TB treatment to avoid sending them on multiple queues.
Simon Zwane
Cell: 082 551 9892
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