Magazine article Drug Topics

UCSF Launches Automated Pharmacy

Magazine article Drug Topics

UCSF Launches Automated Pharmacy

Article excerpt

Pharmacists at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) are in the process of bringing one of the world's largest and most advanced robotic pharmacies online. An automated picking system opened in October 2010, and a sterile preparation and fill operation comes online this fall.

The automated pharmacy is not expected to reduce pharmacy staffing needs, said Lynn Paulsen, PharmD, director of pharmaceutical services, UCSF Medical Center, but it is already creating a safer working environment for both patients and pharmacy personnel,

"We have already filled more than 400,000 oral- solid and sterile -injectable doses with zero order-fill errors," Paulsen told Drug Topics. "Technician picking would generate between 0,1% and 1% errors."

Systemwide upgrade

The automated pharmacy is part of an overall upgrade to UCSF's 2 hospitals that includes bedside bar- coding and electronic medical records going live in October and electronic order entry scheduled for 2012, The automated pharmacy will also serve a third hospital scheduled to open in 2014,

The new 15,000-square foot pharmacy is located in Mission Bay, a new hightech and biotech development area in the western part of San Francisco, The automated pharmacy will eventually replace UCSF's current 5,000-square-foot facility, which is hemmed in by other operations and cannot be expanded,

"That kind of space opens a lot of opportunities," Paulsen said, "You can start thinking about automation in a big way. We're not expecting to save FTEs [full-time equivalent employees] because there is a tremendous amount of quality assurance and oversight and feeding of the machinery needed. The difference is that quality of the product and our services jumps up a couple of logarithms. We have a better career path for technidans, who will be dealing with more sophisticated systems and equipment. And we plan to redeploy pharmadsts to even more direct patient-care work than they are already doing."

The Mission Bay pharmacy serves UCSF's entire inpatient population as well as approximately 180 outpatient dimes. The new facility is not licensed for outpatient services.

"We serve just over 600 beds, and our patients are almost all referrals," Paulsen said. …

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