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May 13, 2004

Robotic Drug-Delivery System Wins State Award

UPMC Presbyterian Hospital was among 12 achievement winners recognized by the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). Robert J. Weber, professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics at Pitt’s School of Pharmacy and executive director of the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics at UPMC, accepted the award on behalf of an interdisciplinary quality improvement team for the entry, “Impact of Hospital Pharmacist and Technician Decentralized Pharmaceutical Care Teams.”
Under Weber’s leadership, the hospital implemented a robotic drug-dispensing delivery system, McKesson’s Robot-Rx and AcuDose Rx, that freed up the pharmacists’ time to perform more clinical duties and reduced the incidence of medication errors. This project was consistent with the health system’s strategy for patient safety and staff and patient satisfaction.
The hospital improved patient safety by deploying pharmacist and technician teams throughout the hospital. Drug order processing times were observed before and after the new workflow design and hospital staff were surveyed to see if they approved of the new changes. Order entry time was reduced by 50 percent and order delivery time was reduced by 30 percent.
The new system also enabled pharmacists to increase their interventions related to patient medication and dramatically improved medication safety. Nursing satisfaction significantly improved and staff viewed the new system as an asset to patient care.
The team discovered that pharmacists and technician teams deployed across a hospital could be an alternate approach to decentralized pharmacy services in hospitals that currently do not have pharmacy satellite services.
“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the pharmacists, physicians, nurses and technicians at UPMC Presbyterian and we are pleased to be recognized among the other health systems as a leader in patient safety,” said Elizabeth Concordia, president of UPMC Presbyterian.
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC also received a HAP award for its successful web-based pharmacy/clinical tracking and evaluation system.
The HAP 2004 Achievement Award entries were evaluated by a nine-judge panel representing the public and private sectors, health care and business organizations and for-profit and non-profit entities.
The 12 winners were judged to be the best among 108 entries in the categories of employee relations, community stewardship, quality of care service and safety, and communications strategies.

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