Contributed by NUHS

Pharmacy - Inpatient Medication Supply

How might we improve the operational efficiency of the medicine supply processes within the hospital for inpatients?

If a particular medicine is prescribed for a patient but is not available at the ward, the hospital pharmacy will dispatch a porter to deliver the medicine to that ward.  This process is highly dependent on availability of portering staff on duty. 


Despite the implementation of online medication, ordering delivery of medications is still a largely manual process where the porter (or a pharmacy staff member) has to document the medicine being supplied, destination, and time of delivery, and do additional checks at multiple supply points.

Being a manual process, errors can occur.  For example, the medicine could be delivered to a wrong location, and time will be wasted by the portering, pharmacy and / or nursing staff to track it down. 

Also, if the delivery is misplaced, there is potential exposure of patient identifier (data).  In addition, porters often have to wait for or try to locate ward staff to take receipt of the delivery. Furthermore, the medication could be misplaced within the ward, a place with high levels of activity and staff movement.


The ideal solution eliminates the possibility for human error by removing human touch points in the medication supply process.  To maximise the benefit of an autonomous solution, there needs to be automated drop-off of medications efficiently and securely at designated points in the wards without the need to disrupt nurses performing their patient care duties.