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Would use of programmable machine reduce medication errors?

Medication errors harm individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania each day. These errors come in several different forms including incorrect labeling, incorrect dosage and as the recent meningitis outbreak illustrates, the way in which the medications are made. At this point, fingers are being pointed at people who made mistakes while creating the medicine.

Programmable equipment is being utilized in some hospitals and other health care facilities to try to reduce the number of medical mistakes that are committed. As it turns out, it can also be used to improve the production of medication. A robot known as RIVA is one way in which this can be done.

Currently being used in at least one west coast hospital, the robot is reportedly used to produce close to a quarter of the medication that is injectable in that hospital. The machine measures and manufactures the specified mediations with its robotic arm and infra red testing. Once finished, a pharmacist looks over the final product to make sure it is okay.

According to the director of pharmaceuticals at the hospital in which RIVA robot is being used, the ultimate goal is to, through the help of that piece of programmable equipment, completely eliminate the need to go to a third party for medications. In addition to reducing the risk of human error, it would also likely reduce the cost of the medications.

What are your thoughts on the use of programmable equipment to create medications? Does it make you feel more or less safe about the medication you are receiving?

Source: KSWB, "Pharmacy robot can reduce likelihood of future outbreaks," Oct. 25, 2012

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