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NEW MEDICINE ‘ROBOT’ TO AID PRESCRIPTIONS AND MULTIPLE MEDICINES AT PHARMACY ESSENTIALS The demand for multiple medications for clients has grown so much at Pharmacy Essentials on Macleay Island, that a ‘robot’ has been installed to help the process. Pharmacist George Economous says the demand on the islands has grown ‘substantially’ in recent times. “It was taking one person a full week to manually fill out all the orders into their respective containers for patients,” he told The Friendly Bay Islander. That’s why George decided to invest in two new pieces of the latest equipment to aid the process. George is hoping the Alpaca Robot and the special ‘de-blistering’ machine will cut a week’s work down to about two days. “It’s in its early stages, but the signs are looking good to aid the medication placement process,” George added. The de-blistering machine ‘pops’ the tablets from their supply packages from the pharmaceutical supplies. These are then placed in up to 120 ‘canisters’ that are the supply source for the Alpaca Robot. This is where George’s daughter, Lola, takes control and matches the IT software records to the robot. Lola explains: “A patient’s profile of drug supply is identified and the robot then selects from the 120 canisters and places the order into the patient order container that has been placed in the robot. In seconds, all the necessary tablets and capsules are selected in quantity and are ‘dropped’ into the patient container. An overlay print is then placed over the container matching the container holes and tablets for patient ease-of-selection. This entire process was previously done by hand by one person; hence the time-saving involved. The program is in its infancy and George Economous is hopeful of a major time saving once fully operational. There will be other benefits from the system once the software is fully integrated with the Pharmacy Essentials business.

• Lola with the Alpaca Robot system.

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