The trial was initially launched at the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust last year.

NHS trust expands use of robot technology for medicine dispensing

By Leontina Postelnicu
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Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust in England is expanding an initiative to use robot technology for improving administration of medicines after a trial started on the Pendleton Suite before the end of last year indicated it could free up time for staff.

The project centres around the PillTime dispensary that features a robot and an optical checker, installed in the pharmacy department. It uses image recognition tech to collate patient medication in sealed pouches, each labelled with the day, date and time a dose has to be taken, checked by pharmacy staff.

The pilot at the Pendleton Suite reportedly marked the first time that PillTime was used in an NHS, hospital ward setting, and the trust is now extending it to benefit patients discharged to the Heartly Green and Limes intermediate care units.

Nadine Keats, a nurse working on the Pendleton Suite, where the initiative has been trialled, said the technology saved her from around half an hour to 40 minutes every round.

“The PillTime pouches have made for efficient drug rounds, a more calm and relaxed atmosphere on the ward, and also enabled tidier and more manageable trolleys. I would like to continue with the pouches rather than revert back to original pack dispensing,” Keats said in a statement.

PillTime is one of over 50 projects launched by Salford Royal through a flagship NHS scheme which aims to support organisations recognised for their use of technology into Global Digital Exemplars.

The programme has already seen Salford Royal develop a digital tool to detect delirium and dementia, now being rolled out and shared as a blueprint across the NHS in England.

This May, MobiHealthNews parent company HIMSS is organising a hospital tour and educational summit at Salford Royal to help digital transformation teams in the NHS share learnings and gain insights to help support their transition to paperless processes.