Health & medicine Science & tech

The age of the autonomous pharmacy

Omnicell UK recently launched its vision for the ‘Autonomous Pharmacy’, a future where medication is managed digitally in cloud-based, AI powered systems, freeing pharmacists from administrative tasks in order to spend more time with patients. Abi Millar finds out more.

The typical pharmacist’s workload is dominated by administrative tasks. As well as dispensing prescriptions, they need to make detailed records, keep files up to date and ensure that products are in stock. These pressures, intense at the best of times, are compounded by an ageing patient demographic with more complex medication needs.

It’s meticulous and time-consuming work. Last year, a report released by the Department of Health and Social Care quantified how many medication errors are made in England each year. The estimated total – 237 million – is galling, even when you consider that 72% carry little or no potential for harm.

Using adverse drug reactions as a proxy for medication errors, the report estimates these errors cause 712 deaths a year and are implicated in many more.

In short, pharmacists can’t afford any lapses in concentration. The upshot is more time spent on admin, less time spent face-to-face with patients.

It’s a situation that Omnicell UK & Ireland is trying to redress. In June, the company launched its vision for the Autonomous Pharmacy, billed as the future of digital medication management.

Read the rest of this article in the September 2019 edition of Medical Technology

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