Robot mixes medications, prepares syringes
CINCINNATI (AP) -- A robot being put into service in the pharmacy at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center will do everything except give shots.
The robot will mix intravenous medications and prepare syringes -- something officials say should reduce the potential for errors and improve patient safety.
The robot, about the size of three refrigerators strapped together, can fill 300 syringes an hour, each with a custom dose and a bar-code label routing it to a particular patient.
The U.S. Institute of Medicine says medication errors account for about 7,000 deaths a year nationwide. Children's Hospital says it has very few errors among the 380,000 syringes its pharmacy prepares each year but wants to be 100 percent mistake-free.
The new automated system also frees up pharmacists to spend more time working with doctors and patients.
"This is a major step in our patient safety program," said Jack Horn, director of the hospital's pharmacy.
Such a robot is especially useful in a pediatric hospital because doses have to be adjusted by a patient's weight, Horn said.
U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, was present at the robot's unveiling on Monday. He helped secure a $640,000 federal grant that covered 90 percent of the robot's cost.