Centralised mass production of antibiotic doses begins at Vaasa Central Hospital
Similar foreign robots only compound single doses. The initial aim is to compound roughly 40 000 cefuroxime doses per year.
Installation of the robotic system will begin in the cleanrooms of the hospital pharmacy at Vaasa Central Hospital in October. Validation of antibiotic compounding will begin in the spring.
“The acquisition is part of a development project covering all hospital activities. Our task was to figure out how the hospital pharmacy can best serve the surrounding hospital. We were also asked to consider the possibility to use automation to boost activities,” says Head of Hospital Pharmacy Jussi-Pekka Rauha.
For the time being, the hospital pharmacy delivers antibiotics as a dry powder formulation to the medicine rooms of wards, and nurses compound the antibiotics by adding injection fluid into the vials containing the dry powder. Compounding antibiotics is an arduous, time-consuming job.
“In the future, wards can rationalize the job description of their staff and boost activities. The centralized compounding of antibiotics also reduces risks related to occupational and patient safety. Since the compounding process will take place in a biosafety cabinet, the nursing staff are no longer exposed to, for instance, the antibiotic dust of cefuroxime, which can be dispersed in the air when a dry powder is handled. This is a significant occupational health and safety improvement,” says Rauha.
A similar robotic system is also used in the hospital pharmacies of Kuopio University Hospital (KUH) and Central Finland Health Care District (KSSHP). The hospital pharmacy of Vaasa Hospital District was the first to choose a two-handed robot, which also draws the antibiotic solution into a syringe after the dry powder has dissolved.
“We discussed the acquisition in a multiprofessional team, and together agreed to choose this extra function for the robot. The aim and wish was, and still is, to maximize the benefits of centralization and provide departments with a product that is as ready as possible. In addition, hygiene will further improve when the wards use a sterile product that has been compounded in a biosafety cabinet in a cleanroom,” says Rauha.
In the upcoming years, the hospital pharmacy of Vaasa Central Hospital will most likely also compound other antibiotic solutions that are suitable for mass production. The robot has the capacity for larger production volumes.
“Our firm intention is not only to supply antibiotic doses for the hospital, but also for the needs of the primary health care sector,” says Rauha in reference to future plans.
Head of Hospital Pharmacy
Vaasa Central Hospital
Tel. +358 6 213 2440
Tel. +358 50 442 1084
NewIcon Oy is a health technology company founded in 2007 and located in Kuopio. It currently employs more than 50 personnel. Turnover in 2015 was approximately 5.5 million euros and business is growing strongly. NewIcon is the market leader in pharmacy storage automation in Finland. The company’s roots go back to industrial automation, where it is a well-known supplier in extensive projects for big industrial names. In recent years, NewIcon has honed its skills to become a professional in automation solutions for medicine suppliers and has delivered systems already to almost fifty pharmacies and hospital pharmacies. The company uses the certified ISO 9001 quality management system.