​KKH has rolled out a new robotic bottle dispensing system (BDS) at its Emergency Pharmacy to enhance efficiency and improve overall patient experience.

  • The automated system for the entire medication workflow is believed to be the world's first
  • Saves up to 8,760 man-hours a year

The Emergency Pharmacy serves one of the busiest A&E in Singapore and dispenses about 1,350 to 1,800 bottles per day.

The BDS – believed to be the world’s first – is an automated system that is able to autoload, pick, assemble and label bottles. These tasks, which were performed manually previously, can consume up to 8,760 man-hours a year.
The system also features another industry-first – a flag labelling system that creates prescription labels that are water, tear and scratch resistant. These new labels can be removed and refastened again easily, thus allowing patients to read the original information on their prescribed medications.
Click image to view video of the robotic system
The BDS is part of the Outpatient Pharmacy Automation System, a total automated solution for the entire medication dispensing workflow at KKH’s Emergency Pharmacy.
Working alongside an existing conveyor system, the robotic system taps on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to provide an automated drug dispensing, tracking and delivery system.
After the pharmacy staff allocates a RFID tag to the patient’s prescription, the automated system picks out the medication and places them in a small basket. The baskets are embedded with an RFID chip, which stores the patient’s information and prescription.
The conveyor system delivers the basket to the pharmacy staff, who then performs an additional round of accuracy check.
Automation has allowed us to fully focus on safety checks and providing more holistic patient care. Patients have expressed their appreciation to our staff for spending more time to educate them on the use of their medication and care of their conditions,” said Ms Irene Quay, Chief Pharmacist of KKH.
The new robotic BDS was developed over a period of one year, in collaboration with Integrated Health Information Systems, Getech Automation, Singapore Polytechnic, NCS and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). This project was fully funded by the Ministry of Health.