Robot Lends Pharmacists a Helping Hand - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Robot Lends Pharmacists a Helping Hand

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The pharmacy at Sanford Health is a whirlwind of activity. But now, pharmacists are getting some help from something that doesn't wear a white lab coat.

His name is Arty. He takes up only three feet by ten feet of space and sits conveniently next to the pharmacists' work station. And most important, the days of manual pill counting are long gone. He can fill 200 prescriptions in an hour.

"It became a necessity with the growth of Bismarck and also a shortage of pharmacists and pharmacy techs. It's really helped us keep up with the demand. We try and make sure and get at least fifty percent of everything we do to come out of the robot. They each have their own canister and it's unique in the security features. There's some security features involved in how we add medications back to the robot and keep it stocked," says

And if you're nervous about a robot filling your prescriptions, don't worry, a pharmacist still gets a final look at what's going in the bottle.

"They are still looking at what the pill looks like, which is a feature of this robot and work-flow system. They can still see a picture of the tablet or capsule, in addition to checking it against an actual scanned copy of the prescription," says

Also, ARTY has two robotic arms that work independently, so, cross-contamination of medication residue is never an issue.  And while Sanford wouldn't comment on how many people the robot could potentially replace, pharmacists say it's made the pharmacy even more efficient.

"It's not a matter of replacing people. It's a matter of trying to get the best care and service to our patients," says

ARTY has made some significant improvements for the Sanford pharmacy, and pharmacists say they're feeling pretty spoiled because the only thing he can't do is put the caps on pill bottles.

 

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