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    Automated P-medication Dispensing Kiosk

    by Changi General Hospital 05/05/2018 11:01 AM AEST

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      Describe the Problem Statement

      Currently, sales of Pharmacy-only medications (P-meds) are carried out in premises which are registered pharmacies and supervised by a pharmacist. Therefore servicing patients is limited by the operating hours of the pharmacy and the presence of a pharmacist. A common scenario encountered: Mr B had a tiring day at the office and has gotten a flu bug from one of his colleague. Towards night time, he was having blocked and runny nose as well as body aches. It was 11pm and there was no nearby Pharmacy or GP open. Left without a choice, he visited the nearest hospital A&E. Mr B waited for 5 hours to see a Doctor to get medications for flu and fever. The A&E department of public hospitals has been seeing a continuous rise in number of patients for the past few years, going up by approximately 5.4% or an additional of 36000 cases per annum. The rise however, does not reflect an actual increase in emergency cases. Based on recent studies conducted at public hospitals in Singapore, more than half of the cases that A&E sees are for non-emergencies or what the hospitals termed as Priority 3 (P3) cases. Private GP and polyclinics in Singapore are usually crowded and have long waiting time. Last year, Ministry of Health (MOH) numbers showed that the waiting time to see a polyclinic doctor have gone up significantly. Some patient might have to wait for more than 3 hours for consult and obtain medications. Issues faced • Using up limited resources at A&E– majority low priority cases • Staff exhaustion • Higher priority patients treatment delayed • Long waiting time at polyclinic and GP for minor ailments • Limited hours of services from clinics and pharmacies • Delay in treatment of minor ailments may lead to worsening of condition

      Desired Tech Envisage

      Robotics

      If Other, please specify

      Desired solution

      One innovative solution is to have a vending machine to sell GSL and P-meds that runs 24/7 without the physical presence of a pharmacist. A patient intending to obtain P-medicines can approach the machine and input signs and symptoms of minor ailment. The information will be send to a mobile app that is manned by a pharmacist on call for diagnosis. The pharmacist will then provide appropriate recommendation of medications. If patient intends to request specific medication, there will be options to select but it will still be screened by the pharmacist via the app. Recommendations should take into account patient’s basic information, such as age, gender, chronic disease, drug allergy. The pharmacist on duty has the right to refuse any sales if deemed necessary. Ie, history of abuse, multiple sales done previously from the same IC number etc. Appropriate referrals should be made if condition warrants further attention from healthcare professional, where necessary. Proper documentation of transactions should be stored in the interface memory for audit trail. Machine should be designed to house medications in recommended storage conditions (25 degree celcius and below). For cold-chain items, a separate compartment for storage can be included. Temperature monitoring can be done via the app. Ie in the event of breakdown, app will alert the pharmacist on call for further action. The machine will also have the capability to accept multiple payment modes, such as cash and electronic modes of payment

      Positive impact to healthcare sectors

      • Manpower reduction of pharmacists tending to OTC requests thus, increasing productivity in other responsibilities with higher clinical and skill demand. One pharmacist can tend to multiple vending machines via the app.
      • Accessibility (Pharmacy vending machines can be strategically placed at locations like hospitals, airports, train stations) and operates round the clock.
      • Reduce unnecessary A&E and Polyclinic/GP visits, which will reduce workload of staff, enabling them to optimize patient care and serve to those who require them urgently.
      • Cultivate patients to take ownership of health in managing minor ailments
      Novelty of proposed solution

      Automated vending machine that a pharmacist can operate via a linked application on mobile device.

      Expected benefits

      Improve Productivity, Reduce Manpower, Improve patient care

      If Other, please specify

      Target beneficiary

      Healthcare Professional , Patient

      If Other, please specify

      Medication

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