Press release: Preparations for the pharmacy automation in Hospital Nova already underway

One of the goals of Hospital Nova that is currently being built in Jyväskylä is to enhance patient and medication safety through digitalisation and automation. One of its automation partners is the Finnish health technology company NewIcon that will deliver a compounding system and 35 automated dispensing cabinets to the new hospital.

Hospital Nova, to be completed in the autumn of 2020, is the first Finnish hospital to be built completely from scratch in the 21st century. The latest technology will be widely implemented in the hospital.

“In Hospital Nova, the core idea of developing pharmaceutical services is to renew processes that improve medication safety and enhance the pharmaceutical service process. Automation and information systems are tools that can be used to reach 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 of Finland.

“Other hospital are also working with the same themes, and all kinds of innovational automation for improving patient and medication safety will be introduced in Nova. We are in an exceptional situation, because we were able to plan the new hospital from the very beginning and take all automation-related requirements into account”, says Hänninen.

Switching to automation requires preparation

The commissioning of automation means big changes in the daily life and procedures of the hospital. In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new hospital, the preparations for the changes in procedures are already underway. The Jyväskylä Central Hospital is already using a test automated dispensing cabinet by NewIcon in the hospital pharmacy and two production cabinets in the hospital wards. The installation of automated dispensing cabinets will begin in autumn 2019.

“We wanted to frontload the acquisition of automated dispensing cabinets. By using test and production cabinets, we have already been able to familiarise the staff with the equipment and develop appropriate practices. Working with a partner situated nearby has made it possible for us to develop features even further together”, Hänninen says.

In addition to the eMED ICON automated dispensing cabinets and the IV ICON Twins compounding system delivered by NewIcon, Hospital Nova will also start using a pneumatic tube system, an automated dispensing system, and the first Unit Dose dosage system in Finland, enabling unit doses of medicine and electronic identification via individual identifiers. The goal is to integrate all automation systems into the client and patient Information data system at a later stage.

“This is related to a phenomenon called uninterrupted pharmaceutical service that, in practice, refers to how prescription, verifying prescriptions, and distribution, 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 interruptions”, Hänninen describes.

The largest single order for NewIcon

Another IV ICON Twins compounding system by NewIcon will also be installed in the new hospital to enhance the compounding of intravenous antibiotics. The first compounding system was installed in the Central Finland Central Hospital in 2016.

“The first compounding system was acquired primarily to improve ergonomics, because the same tasks were previously done manually. The other system will help us meet the increased demand from the wards and to enable the expansion of our operations”, Hänninen says.

The compounding system commissioned by the Central Finland Central hospital and the configuration of 35 automated dispensing cabinets are an important order for NewIcon.

“Central Finland is getting the most modern hospital in Finland. It is wonderful to be able to participate in this project with the largest single sale in our history”, comments Ossi Parviainen, CEO of NewIcon.

Caption: Development Pharmacist Kaisa Hänninen and System Administrator Tero Turunen presenting the eMED ICON automated dispensing cabinet by NewIcon.

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