Robot Inventory Drug Control at University Health Services

The pharmacy at Penn State University’s Student Health Center  has employed a robot lovingly named “Rex” to do everything from count pills to fill prescription bottles by way of automated pharmaceutical inventory control.

Rex is officially known as a “collating control center robotic prescription-dispensing machine,” which is essentially an automated medical vending machine on a much larger scale. Doris Guanowsky, the senior associate director at University Health Services at Penn State, says that this is exactly the type of technological innovation that is allowing them to serve and care for a greater number of people with each passing day. Rex is currently being used to fill the prescriptions of employees, students, retirees and everyone in between.

Guanowsky indicated that it is not common for a university to have this type of technology at all, let alone working in the Student Health Center. However, the huge volume of patients and prescriptions that the Center is responsible necessitated this emphasis on the best that modern technology has to offer. Over the 2013 to 2014 season alone, University Health Services filled more than 163,000 prescriptions. To put that into slightly different terms, that equates to between 600 and 1,000 prescriptions each and every day.

Filling a prescription is a lot more than just putting pills into a bottle. Patients have to be communicated with, insurance claims need to be properly filed, labels need to be printed en masse and more. By automating a large portion of these processes and delegating that responsibility to Rex, the Center is not only able to keep costs down but can also turn over a higher number of prescriptions per day.

EMS_CAP5Ref_Medical_Vending_MachineIn many ways, a college pharmacy vending machine solution like Rex is powered on similar technology to the type that UCapIt has been incorporating into its solutions for over 80 years. UCapIt provides a wide range of different technological solutions that healthcare providers depend on daily. The CAP 5, for example, allows healthcare professionals to have complete control over the dispensing of the widest variety of products and medical supplies. The CAP 5 Refrigerated adds in the ability to control an environment’s climate, increasing the total number of items that can be stored based on those conditions.

One thing is for sure: between the solutions that UCapIt provides and the ways in which medical centers like the one at Penn State are embracing modern technology, everyone is benefiting – from patients to healthcare practitioners and everyone in between.