Technology Investment for Patient Safety behind Advanced Pharmacy Automation Purchase by Virginia Hospital Center

Share Article

Virginia Hosptal Center installs an advanced pharmacy automation solution to assure patient safety

The pursuit of maximizing patient safety through an investment in state-of-the-art technology is the major reason why Virginia Hospital Center, Arlington, VA., chose to install an advanced automated drug management system manufactured by Swisslog (, a leading provider of pharmacy automation solutions.

Virginia Hospital Center is installing a PillPick® system, which automatically packages, stores and dispenses unit dose medications in bar coded packages. The system can package tablets and capsules, as well as odd-shaped items such as syringes, ampoules, vials and liquid cups, in bar coded unit-doses.

These bar-coded bags are automatically transferred to a high-density pharmacy robot that can hold up to 44,000 unit doses. Unit doses are then pulled from the robot into a unit that assembles patient-specific, 24-hour medication orders on a patented, flexible PickRing. Virginia Hospital Center is redesigning the medication delivery system and taking advantage of the PickRing technology to provide patient specific medications at the bedside. Each PickRing can be arranged alphabetically or by order of administration and a large tag attached to each ring specifies the drug, administration time and other patient-specific information. PickRings are a unique method in which patient-specific drugs are assembled to ensure greater patient safety, as each dose is checked one last time for accuracy before dispensing. PickRings can also be assembled for cabinet-specific medication administration as well. The PillPick system's software will interface with a new state-of-the-art hospital information system that will come online in 2009.

Dana Anderson, pharmacy director at Virginia Hospital Center, said "I've looked at other robotic options but choose Swisslog's PillPick solution because of its many benefits. It has built in redundancy, it can deliver first doses while continuing with the routine fill and it has the lowest downtime in the industry. There are fewer validation steps required by a pharmacist while producing an increase in safety and accuracy. It will support our bedside medication distribution requirements and will continue to support our automatic dispensing machine system."

About Virginia Hospital Center
For over 60 years, Virginia Hospital Center has provided exceptional medical services to the Washington metropolitan area. Virginia Hospital Center's new $150 million state-of-the-art facility offers comprehensive healthcare and multiple Centers of Excellence including Cardiology & Cardiovascular Surgery, Neuroscience, Oncology, Women & Infant Health and Urology. Growing service lines include Executive Health and the only Lung Cancer Center in Northern Virginia. Virginia Hospital Center is a teaching hospital, long-associated with Georgetown University's School of Medicine, and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and Licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Health. For additional information, visit

About Swisslog
Swisslog is a global provider of integrated logistics solutions for warehouses, distribution centers and hospitals. Its comprehensive services portfolio ranges from building complex warehouses and distribution centers to implementing Swisslog's own software. In addition Swisslog provides intra-company logistics solutions for hospitals as well as software and consulting services in the field of supply chain management.

Swisslog's Healthcare Solutions division is the world leader providing logistics automation mainly for healthcare markets. Swisslog has installed hospital material transport and pharmacy automation systems in more than 2,000 hospital and pharmacies throughout the world. Swisslog offers total system design, manufacturing, installation and customer support providing a complete hospital supply chain management approach to logistics challenges. Swisslog Healthcare Solutions division headquarters is located in Denver, CO with corporate headquarters in Buchs/Aarau, Switzerland. For more information, visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Email >
Visit website