Press release: HUS Pharmacy Receives World’s Largest Fully-Automatic Medicine Storage System

Kuopio-based NewIcon Oy and HUS Pharmacy, the largest hospital pharmacy in Finland, have closed a major deal for a fully-automatic medicine storage system.

The total value of the contract is two million euros, which makes it the biggest hospital automation project in Finland so far. The size of the system is also record-breaking, as the roughly four-meter-high and 35-meter-long robot is presumably the largest in the world. The system includes seven robotic arms.

Installation of the Mega-Fixu medicine storage system in HUS Pharmacy will begin in June when the new underground facilities have been completed. The system will be commissioned in the fall and be fully operational by January 2016 when the medicine supply and clinical pharmacy services of the City of Helsinki will be transferred to HUS Pharmacy.

“The pharmaceutical service of the City of Helsinki bring 230 000 more medicine delivery items to HUS Pharmacy, on top of our current 800 000 items per year,” says Development Manager of HUS Pharmacy Marita Saanila-Sotamaa.

HUS Pharmacy is the fourth hospital pharmacy where NewIcon Oy has delivered or will deliver a medicine storage system. Half of the company’s revenue comes from medicine storage systems for pharmacies and the other half from various automation solutions for medicine dispensing in hospitals.

“We are pleased that we can automate and be involved in advancing the field of hospital pharmacy particularly in HUS, which is one of the largest and most prestigious hospitals in Europe. We believe that the contract will increase our international coverage, and decision-makers around the world in this field will want to hear more about the system. This contract significantly promotes NewIcon’s internationalization,” says Key Account Manager Jukka Mauranen from NewIcon Oy.

Europe’s fastest and most modern

HUS Pharmacy is currently responsible for supplying medicines to 14 member municipalities and 22 hospital units of the largest hospital district in Finland. There are 24 member municipalities in total. HUS provides special health care services to 1.6 million residents in Helsinki and Uusimaa. HUS Pharmacy is also the largest hospital pharmacy in Finland, employing more than 180 pharmaceutical professionals.

“Our profitability will increase when our employees can shift their attention from mechanical storage management to more relevant tasks. In the future, pharmacists, for instance, will focus more on clinical pharmacy in hospital wards closer to the patient,” says Saanila-Sotamaa.

The system is tailored to the needs of HUS Pharmacy so that two robotic arms input 4 000 – 5 000 medicine packages into the storage facility every day. Four robots retrieve and shelve packages in the mornings at a rate of roughly 1 500 packages an hour. In addition, one robot places lids and address labels onto ward crates. These seven robotic arms manage the entire storage facility, which has a capacity of 150 000 medicine packages when full.

HUS Pharmacy will validate the system according to the requirements of the Finnish Medicines Agency FIMEA, so that staff resources can be further allocated to expert tasks that promote patient and medication safety. After receiving permission from FIMEA, only a fraction of the medicine deliveries need to be checked manually after they have been retrieved by the robot.

“One of the quality requirements of our contract was a system that retrieves medicines flawlessly and reliably. NewIcon Oy won the public tender due to its quality points, although the bid was more expensive than the competing one,” states Saanila-Sotamaa.

More information

THE JOINT AUTHORITY FOR THE HOSPITAL DISTRICT OF HELSINKI AND UUSIMAA (HUS) 

 

Marita Saanila-Sotamaa
Development Manager
HUS Pharmacy Enterprise
Tel. +358 50 4287769
marita.saanila-sotamaa@hus.fi

 

Jukka Mauranen
Key Account Manager
NewIcon Oy
Tel. +358 50 549 1345
jukka.mauranen@newicon.fi