Shaare Zedek’s Pharmacy Robot

Months ago, Shaare Zedek decided to upgrade its pharmacy and after carefully evaluating several options, the medical center decided to install a state-of the art robotic system from the GPI Group in Italy with the help of a team from Nevo Robotics, an Israeli medication management solutions group. This is the first system of its kind in Israel and one of only a handful in operation across Europe.

Members of the Italian Embassy, members of the management of Nevo Robotics and Gruppo GPI SpA Italy, along with some of the administration and staff of Shaare Zedek Medical Center gathered to celebrate. Mr. Efi Gross, the CEO of Nevo-Medical shared, “On a day when we are discussing robotics and automation, I want to relate to the human factor. I have not seen such patience for years. The staff at Shaare Zedek effectively incorporated the robot into their processes which is quite challenging and requires a complete change of mindset.”

Roughly 1,300 different medications are stored in Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s pharmacy and about a thousand packages of medications are dispensed to patients every day. Each department keeps a stock of medications commonly used within that department and in addition, specific medications are brought to departments based on the needs of each patient.

Ms. Estelle Bukatman, our Director of Pharmacy Services explained, “This system is among the most advanced–the medications are loaded into the robot and the robot organizes the medication based on the frequency of use and expiration date. The robot dispenses medication in batches based on the needs of each department. When specific medications are needed (aside from general medications stocked in each department), the robot retrieves the medication from storage and then delivers it to the hospital’s pharmacy counter via a 44 meter conveyor belt. In the future, the system will be able to deliver specific medications, as needed; 24 hours a day…This system improves speed, accuracy and efficiency and enables the staff in the pharmacy to provide the hospital’s departments with better service. Over time, we also expect that there will be a cost savings given the system’s advanced storage and monitoring features.”

Mr. Alon Tavor of Nevo Robotics shared, “It has been an unbelievable experience. Once the hospital decided to move forward, everyone was mobilized and moved very quickly. We have not seen anything like this in our work with other organizations in Israel and Europe. The staff here is very positive and friendly—there is a real ‘can-do’ atmosphere.”

Estelle added, “We are very focused on our patient’s experience. Whether the medication is intended to alleviate pain or help in a patient’s treatment, we want to support the staff in the different departments in serving the needs of patients. It is very exciting to know that we are working towards providing our patients with the best pharmaceutical services available.”

For additional information, please read this article (in Hebrew).

For more information and to see the robot in action, please watch this video.

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