Tampere University Hospital to obtain the world’s largest automated dispensing system: Acquisition based on safety, efficiency and reliability of medicine supply

The hospital pharmacy in Tampere University Hospital (Tays) in the Pirkanmaa Hospital District will obtain the world’s largest automated dispensing system, supplied by the Kuopio-based NewIcon Oy.

The Mega-Fixu automated dispensing system (ADS) will be built in the extension of the hospital pharmacy to be completed in the autumn of 2020. Staff from the Hatanpää hospital pharmacy will also transfer to the new hospital pharmacy in Tays once the ADS is in use. Automated logistics will enable pharmacists to focus on more challenging specialist tasks. Automatisation will also minimise human errors in the retrieval and delivery of medicines, thus further improving medication safety.

The reorganisation of the hospital pharmacy premises has been ongoing at Tays over a longer period, and a while ago the old logistics premises were turned into the new storage room for the hospital pharmacy. The overall development project also included the decision to acquire the ADS. The hospital pharmacy serves more than 1,200 operational units, such as the in-patient wards and other institutions in the Pirkanmaa region. The medicines dispensed by the hospital pharmacy are driven to destinations around the region, and pharmacists have spent a significant part of their working hours processing the packages. The ADS will enable pharmacists to concentrate on specialist tasks, ward pharmacy services and automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs).

“Our starting point was our wish to renew medicine supply service logistics in a way that would improve safety, efficiency and the reliability of supply. In general, it is impossible to find more resources, which means that you have to find smart ways to allocate the existing resources. Our idea is to utilise technology where we can, and use the valuable work done by humans for specialist tasks that cannot be replaced with machines,” says Chief Pharmacist Marja Iso-Mustajärvi.

Finnish hospitals lead the way in pharmacy automation

The Mega-Fixu automated dispensing system to be installed in Tays has 6 robotic arms that are able to shelve 4,000 packages and retrieve 4,000 packages during a working day. The floor area of the ADS is 160 m2. For NewIcon, the million euro deal with Tays is significant and will help to strengthen the company’s position as the market leader in the Nordic countries. Previously, NewIcon delivered an ADS of a similar size to Helsinki University Hospital (HUS). There, the ADS was commissioned in 2015.

“The deal with Tays is not only significant to NewIcon; it will also further strengthen the pioneering role of Finland in the field of medication safety and in improving medicine supply services. It is great to see that hospitals in Finland are willing to take unconventional steps to improve extremely modern hospitals, even on the global scale,” says Ossi Parviainen, the CEO of NewIcon.

According to Pharmacist (M.Sc.) Pekka Savolainen who leads the acquisition project at Tays, the selection was made based on the reliability of supply offered by the equipment and the fact that it was possible to fit the equipment in the premises being built. Integration was also an important factor.

“NewIcon was able to build an entity that fits our premises and meets our needs, serving the entire medicine supply service process of the hospital pharmacy. Accuracy is key to our operations, as our customers must receive their medication on time. When we considered the acquisition, the accuracy of retrieval and reliability of supply were the key criteria,” Savolainen says.

The hospital pharmacy in Tays has an ISO 9001:2015 certified quality system for all operations. This means that the ADS will also be integrated into the quality system.

Five boxes to tick in the medical service process

The Tays hospital pharmacy has been working with NewIcon for a while with the objective of developing an uninterrupted medical service process. This means ticking all five boxes of the medical service process: right medicine, right dose, right administration method, right time and right patient. The process is based on the cooperation of humans and automation and on double-checking at all phases of the medical service process, and the aim is to improve medication safety.

Automated dispensing cabinets are a part of this process development, and ADCs have already been delivered to 12 operational units of Tays.

“When everything is completed in the autumn of 2020, we hope to be one of the leaders among hospital pharmacies in Europe. Our medicine supply service will be efficient, and our pharmacy professionals will be carrying out duties they were trained for, i.e. specialist tasks. We will be doing our share in effective care, with effective resources,” says Iso-Mustajärvi.

More information

Tays Hospital Pharmacy
Chief Pharmacist Marja Iso-Mustajärvi
Tel. +358 3 311 65936

NewIcon Oy
CEO Ossi Parviainen
Tel. +358 50 549 7656


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