This post was originally published on 27 February 2016 and the content may be outdated.
Automated self-service kiosks vending doctor-prescribed medicines may replace pharmacies at major healthcare facilities in the country soon.
The new Women’s Hospital is currently experimenting with such a service and the pilot project has so far been successful, The Peninsula has reported.
Various departments of the hospital have set up automated self-service kiosks that give away medicines to patients prescribed by its doctors.
Move to reduce waiting time at pharmacy
The idea is to provide a better patient experience and ensure that the patient doesn’t have to wait at the hospital’s pharmacy in a queue to access the medicines prescribed by a doctor.
Al Sharq reports that this is the first such automated medicine delivery mechanism for patients being experimented in the Middle East.
“Once the service takes off the new Women’s Hospital here will be the first healthcare facility in the entire Middle East to have such a service,” said the daily.
How the system works
It is understood that once a patient has seen a doctor and he or she has written a prescription, the former can go up to a self-service kiosk nearby and key in his or her health number and access the prescribed medicines in no time.
If the patient has a query, he or she can dial the pharmacy from a phone hanging in the kiosk and the needed phone numbers will all be there.
All the patient has to do is to press a button to access the pharmacy-phone-in service.
Many departments of the new Women’s Hospital are experimenting with the novel service, and the experiment has so far proved successful, the daily said.
More productive time for pharmacists
Even though prescription based medicine vending machines are becoming popular in western countries, they weren’t tried in Middle East countries. If the experiment becomes successful, they may soon become a common facility at all hospitals.
Even for hospitals or clinics that don’t have to worry about pharmacist shortages, automated machines can free up pharmacy staff to deal with more complex medications and interact with patients.
The ATM-style machines aren’t meant to replace a pharmacist and generally don’t dispense prescriptions that require regular refills.
Qatar’s public health authorities have been quite successful in introducing the latest technology for patient care and service.
Recently, Hamad Medical City had launched an electronic service to help motorists locate their cars in its vast new parking facility.