Tuesday, 25 September2018

Bloemfontein: A groundbreaking ATM pharmacy that gives patients with chronic illnesses repeat medication in under five minutes, was unveiled during Pharmacy Month in Bloemfontein.

The first Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU) in the Free State is at Twin City Mall, a central community shopping centre which is on main transport routes and is open for extended hours including weekends and public holidays.

The innovative PDU was developed by a team comprising experts from Right to Care and Right ePharmacy and deployed in collaboration with the Free State Department of Health.

The launch of the dispensing unit in the Free State is the second phase of the Central Medicine Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme that will expand access to chronic medication for patients in rural communities.

This site services patients from primary facilities as well as chronic patients that are referred from tertiary and district hospitals. The technology will therefore positively impact high patient volume institutions such as district hospitals, regional hospitals and community health centre facilities as well as clinics by reducing the patient load and therefore waiting times.

“Our alliances made this innovation possible and we are grateful to the Free State Provincial Health Department for partnering to make this work. We also thank the Global Fund for monetary support. PDUsTM ensure accurate dispensing and quick collection for clinically stable patients on chronic medication. Driven by sophisticated technology, patients’ concerns and information needs are still handled personally by tele-pharmacists.” said Right to Care CEO, Professor Ian Sanne.

Medicine is dispensed by the PDU in a simple 5-step process:

1. Patient scans barcode on pharmacy card and enters PIN
2. Patient talks to a tele-pharmacist
3. The prescription and or items are selected (and amended)
4. The medicine is robotically dispensed and labelled and drops in the collection bin
5. Patient takes medicines and a receipt which indicates next collection date.

MEC for Health in the Free State Province, Montseng Tsiu infront of the Pharmacy Dispensing Unit.

MEC for Health in the Free State Province, Montseng Tsiu said: “This is a great step forward for patients in our city as this technologically advanced pharmacy will dramatically reduce waiting times and congestion in public healthcare facilities in Mangaung.”

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