|Robots and Patient Safety|
|Written by Administrator|
|Sunday, 24 May 2009|
Another poor PR stunt made by my favorite hospital. Of all the magazines out there, it's PC World who picked up this "news". It appeared that Bumrungrad has just introduced a robotic system for dispensing inpatient medication. The hospital's CTO, Chang Foo, claimed the robots "have boosted safety significantly at the hospital" [emphasis mine].
I would presume that somebody up the ladder as high as a CTO would know what a "statistical significance" is. Do you mind to share with us, perhaps in another PR, what the baseline numbers were (ie. how many wrong medication was dispensed / number of samples before the robots were deployed?) and the numbers after the deployment? That way, we can determine for ourselves if it's really "significantly" improved.
I guess not.
One more equally important thing is: how did you manage to detect those errors? I really would like to know that.
Don't get me wrong. I always appreciate new technologies that improve our lives. But this sounds more like a half-baked solution aimed at PR move more than anything.
The number of outpatients at your hospital is likely to be far higher than that of inpatients. Why not deploy something like this for outpatients instead. It would certainly benefit more customers, oops I mean, patients. My local Walgreens phamacy (that's a corner store phamacy not a hospital FYI) has been using an automated drug dispensing robot for ages. Even with all those robots, state law still REQUIREs that all medication are manually checked by a licensed pharmacist. I know that because my mother-in-law is a practicing pharmacist in California.
US hospitals have been using this and this for inpatients since at least 2000. Even with all those machines, they still rely on real pharmacists to supervise every step in medication dispensing because there always is a chance for medication errors.
I haven't been to Bumrungrad for awhile. Are the doctors there still writing everything on paper and then scan it into the computer as a bitmap? Maybe they ought to fix that first.
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