Hospital Nova prepares for pharmacy automation: “Our goal is an uninterrupted pharmaceutical service”

Hospital Nova, currently under construction in Jyväskylä, is already rapidly preparing for pharmacy automation. Scheduled for completion in autumn 2020, Nova is the first entirely new hospital to be built in Finland in the 2000s. One of the objectives of the hospital is to improve the safety of patients and medication through digitalisation and automation.

The hospital is planning to make extensive use of the latest technology. NewIcon is delivering an IV ICON Twins compounding system and 35 eMED ICON automated dispensing cabinets (ADC).

“Our core idea of developing pharmaceutical services is to improve medication safety and enhance the processes. Automation and information systems are tools that will enable us to achieve this goal”, says Kaisa Hänninen, the development pharmacist of the Central Finland Health Care District.

The hospital project of the Central Finland Health Care District has also attracted interest outside Finland.

“Other hospitals are interested in our experiences, as they are also working with the same themes, and all kinds of innovation automation for improving patient and medication safety will be introduced in Nova. We are also in a unique situation, because we have been able to take automation requirements into account in the design of a new hospital”, says Hänninen.

Preparations are underway for the commissioning of automated dispensing cabinets

Because of the commissioning of automation, significant changes are required to hospital processes and procedures. To make the transition to the new hospital smooth, preparations for the changes in procedures are made in good time.

The Jyväskylä Central Hospital is already testing an automated dispensing cabinet by NewIcon in the hospital pharmacy and using two cabinets for production in the hospital wards. The installation of automated dispensing cabinets in Nova will begin in autumn 2019.

“We wanted to be proactive in our approach to the procurement of automated dispensing cabinets. The automated dispensing cabinets currently in use have enabled us to get to know the equipment and their information system, develop the cabinets in collaboration with the supplier, and renew our practices”, Hänninen says.

At the moment, a multi-professional project team at Hospital Nova is preparing a training package for the commissioning of automated dispensing cabinets. Inductions and training on how to use the equipment for all users are already under way.

“With NewIcon, we have already planned the delivery and installation of the automated dispensing cabinets to the wards at Hospital Nova, as well as the validation of the equipment. We are constantly dealing with the commissioning schedule of the entire hospital, so it is quite a puzzle”, Hänninen says.

Automated dispensing cabinets play a significant role in acute wards

In addition to the automated dispensing cabinets and compounding system supplied by NewIcon, Hospital Nova will be equipped with a pneumatic tube system, an automated dispensing system and the Unit Dose dosage system. Later, the goal is to integrate the automation systems of the hospital pharmacy into the client and patient information data system.

“Our goal is an uninterrupted pharmaceutical service that, in practice, refers to how prescriptions are verified and distributed; compounding, preparation and administration of medicine are all stored in the medical service systems in real time. Information travels between the information systems and devices automatically and without interruption”, Hänninen explains.

The hospital’s Unit Dose dosage system is the first in Finland. It enables unit doses of medicine and electronic identification via individual identifiers. When it is fully integrated into the hospital patient information data system, the system will be able to dispense medicines to each patient. Some of the unit doses of medicine will be stored in the automated dispensing cabinets by NewIcon and collected for each patient.

“The role of automated dispensing cabinets in pharmaceutical services is further highlighted in acute wards that treat a considerable variety of patients. Unit doses of medicine can also be used in acute wards, but they cannot be patient-specific, as medicines are required at such a fast pace. However, the automated dispensing cabinets allow us to safely collect the correct medicine for each patient using the electronic identifier on the unit dose. In addition, in the future, thanks to electronic dispensing records, we will have more reliable information regarding the medication administered to each patient, the dose and time, and the person administering the medicine”, Hänninen says.

A second compounding system allows for expansion of operations

The first IV ICON Twins compounding system by NewIcon was installed in the Central Finland Central Hospital in 2016 to enhance the compounding of intravenous antibiotics. The Central Finland Health Care District has ordered a second compounding system for the new hospital.

“The second Twins will help us to meet the growing demand on wards and enable us to expand our operations”, says Kaisa Hänninen, the development pharmacist.

The hospital acquired the first compounding system, above all, to improve occupational ergonomics, as compounding antibiotics manually is demanding and time-consuming. Automation was also used to improve the overall efficiency of the work process, as the compounding system will allow larger production volumes and produce medicines of higher microbiological quality.

More information

Hospital Nova

Hospital Nova in central Finland is the first central hospital to be built in the 2000s. Nova is built to replace the old Central Hospital in Jyväskylä. Some of the old hospital buildings will be dismantled, while new uses will be found for other buildings.

  • Location Jyväskylä
  • Completion 2020
  • Total area approx. 100,000 gross square metres
  • Examination and consultation rooms 360
  • Beds on hospital wards 368
  • Operating theatres 24
  • Delivery rooms 10


Kaisa Hänninen, development pharmacist 

  • Worked in Central Finland Central Hospital since 2010
  • Hobbies: Studying and outdoor activities
  • Motto: If you never take the first step, you will not get ahead.
  • What do you cook for friends and family? Chicken pasta


In an uninterrupted pharmaceutical service, the goal is to score five:

  1. correct medicine
  2. correct dose
  3. using the correct method
  4. at the correct time
  5. to the correct patient


The pharmaceutical service is uninterrupted when the patient medication data is stored in real time in the medical service systems and information travels between different systems automatically. In addition to automation, the following will increase the safety of the pharmaceutical service: up-to-date medication information, pharmaceutical verification, and evaluation of medical treatment.


Read more about our hospital pharmacy automation solutions:

Pharmacy automation in hospitals


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