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New Robotic Dispensing Technology Enhances KGI Pharmacy Education

Hands-on experience with the latest robotic dispensing technology is a rarity for pharmacy students—but not those at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI). In August, KGI installed the ScriptPro SP 200 Robotic Dispensing System in the School of Pharmacy’s Patient-Focused Skills Laboratory and Medication Management Technology Center. According to Professor of Practice Robert Stein, KGI’s School of Pharmacy is only the second in California to have this equipment available for educational purposes.

The sophisticated system incorporates outpatient pharmacy prescription management software as well as a dispensing robot. The technology is designed to accurately fill and label prescription vials, automatically issuing barcodes for safety while avoiding cross-contamination. It also offers a clinical decision support tool that alerts pharmacists to the potential dangers of a new prescription, based on a patient’s allergies and other medications.

“One of our goals in our lab is to demonstrate the safe use of medications, and this ensures students can see a state-of-the-art mechanism for use in the community setting. It gives them an opportunity to see best practices,” says Stein, who negotiated KGI’s acquisition of the system.

He is already using the new technology with PharmD students in the Health Information Technology (HIT) concentration, providing them not only with the knowledge required to operate the system, but also an understanding of how it can help pharmacists improve patient care.

“The goal of automation is to allow pharmacists more time for consultation with patients,” Stein says. “The more informed clinicians are about a patient, the better the care for the patient.”

Though Stein is the first to incorporate the system in his teaching, it is available to other School of Pharmacy faculty members interested in including this technology in the curriculum.