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Pharmacy technology

Montreal’s CHUM re-engineers pharmacy functions

MONTREAL – One of the most advanced pharmaceutical technology platforms in Canada has recently been put into operation at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM). The deployment of an automated, single-dose dispensing method in patient care units is an example of advanced re-engineering of a hospital’s work processes over the entire drug circuit.

“This one-of-a-kind drug management process affects all patients and all disciplines involved in the drug circuit, from prescription validation by the pharmacist to administration of the drug to the patient,” said Serge LeBlanc, the CHUM’s Acting Director General.

In addition to installing a robot to dispense medication at Hôpital Saint-Luc and Hôpital Notre-Dame, the CHUM refitted the three CHUM pharmacy services’ facilities and completely re-engineered all the work processes throughout the entire drug circuit.

The revamping of the Pharmacy Department in the three CHUM hospitals took place over three months, during which time regular activities were maintained. The pilot project to implement the automated single-dose distribution method and the installation of automation cabinets in the patient care units took place over 12 months.

“The objectives of this project included increasing the safety and security of patient care, reducing the workload of nursing staff and increasing the efficiency of the drug distribution and administration system,” said Denis Bois, Chief of the CHUM Pharmacy Department.

“As a leading partner of the CHUM for many years, McKesson Canada is very proud to be associated with this major, avant-garde robotization project. Our integrated health approach aims to provide innovative solutions and information technologies in the healthcare field, with the goal of improving the safety and efficiency of the Canadian health system,” said Yves Portelance (pictured above), Vice President and General Manager, Integrated Healthcare Solutions, McKesson Canada.

The main advantage of this technological upgrade is increased safety and security of medication use. It also means increased efficiency for the care staff.

The process of preparing and dispensing drugs represents a large portion of nurses’ workload. Since the system was implemented, nurses can devote about 30 minutes a day more to other patient-related tasks, as they no longer have to prepare medication on the floors. It now arrives pre-packaged and patient-specific in a cart, ready to be dispensed. It is clear that this high-tech upgrade and improved patient care management are the very image of patient services and the hospital pharmacy of the 21st century.

Further information about the CHUM is available at: