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Introduction to Automation

Learn more about the importance of automation in pharmacy practice.
Shao-Chin Chiang explores the different aspects of automation in pharmacy practice, explaining what automation is, how it changes pharmacists’ jobs, and what pharmacists need to know about it. Chiang first outlines the learning objectives of this activity before going over the necessary terminologies.

Key Points on Automation in Pharmacy Practice

  • Technology: Anything used to replace routine or repetitive tasks previously performed by people or to extend the capability of people. Pharmacists have been using technology for a long time to verify orders and prepare the unite dose system more efficiently. Technology frees pharmacists to carry out other tasks that improve patient care.
  • Automation: A type of technology. Any machine or device linked to or controlled by a computer used to do work. All forms of automation are technology but not all technology is automation. The ultimate goal of automation is to improve patient safety.

Benefits of Automation in Pharmacy Practice

  • Improve patient safety
  • Enable professionals to provide high-quality care
  • Help patients make the most of their medicines
  • Free pharmacists to provide patient care services
  • Perform routine, repetitive, and monotonous tasks more consistently
  • Standardized use of terminology and nomenclature
  • Mass customization
Medication use process can be broken down into ordering, transcribing, dispensing, and administration phases. Data has suggested that applying technology and automated systems can aid to reduce errors in the process, especially in the ordering and administration phases.
Examples of such systems include:
  • CPOE system, which assists the ordering phase by eliminating the need to transcribe orders, and also provide prescribers with the necessary information.
  • BCMA technology, which improves the administration stage, ensuring the right patient receives the right drugs of the right dose via the right route and at the right time (5 Right policy).
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Good Pharmacy Practice: Pharmaceutical Services

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