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For immediate release                                         August 29, 2000


Sharon Regional Health System begins using pharmacy robotic system


Sharon Regional Health System began using a state-of-the-art pharmacy robotics system this week that utilizes bar code technology to automate the dispensing and delivery of inpatient medications. Sharon Regional is the first hospital in Mercer County to acquire a pharmacy robotic system. The high performance robot is being phased in to all areas of the hospital this week after being thoroughly tested for several weeks on one nursing unit.

The high-speed ROBOT-Rx, manufactured by McKessonHBOC Automated Healthcare, is the latest robotic system available. It will be used to dispense and deliver more than 90,000 doses per month at Sharon Regional. The system is widely recognized in the healthcare industry for its accuracy in the prevention of medication errors. Hospitals using the robotic system have also achieved reduced inventory and labor costs, resulting in significant savings.

Sharon Regional’s President and CEO Wayne Johnston says, “We are committed to insuring our patients have access to the newest technologies. Acquiring this system sets new standards of care by giving our patients access to the most advanced capabilities in hospital medication administration available in the country.”

According to Joyce Yager, R.Ph., FASCP, director of pharmacy services, the technology demonstrates Sharon Regional’s commitment to quality of care by ensuring patient safety and improving efficiency in the drug distribution process. “Patient safety is our number one priority,” says Yager. “This system allows us to proactively minimize the possibility of medication errors and puts pharmacists on the floor with the patients rather than involving them in medication dispensing tasks.”

ROBOT-Rx offers all medications in unit dose, bar coded packages that contain medication specific information such as generic/brand name, expiration date and lot number. Accuracy and safety are greatly increased with bar coding due to uniformed labeling and compatibility with point-of- care systems. Compared to a manual picking system, the ROBOT-Rx is virtually error-free in dispensing medications.

McKessonHBOC Automated Healthcare is a Pittsburgh-based firm that manufactures and markets pharmacy automation systems that help hospitals reengineer their medication use process to improve cost savings and increase the quality of care.