13-Aug-2018 Automating Pharmacies for the Future Page ContentSim Yan Qing, 28Senior Systems AnalystNTU, Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science) Ong Wai Teck, 29 Senior Systems AnalystNTU, Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science) Imagine a future where pharmacies are fully automated, and collecting your medication takes only a fraction of the time now spent waiting for your prescriptions to be packed, checked, and handed to you. Our Systems Analysts, Sim Yan Qing, and Ong Wai Teck, are part of the Pharmacy team working towards this goal. We check in with them to get a glimpse of what it is like to be part of this exciting journey. 1. What sparked your interest in IT and why did you choose the healthcare sector?Sim Yan Qing (YQ): My interest in information technology (IT) started after I graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). I wanted to put the skills and IT knowledge that I acquired in university to benefit society. I thought that working in the healthcare industry would be meaningful as it is one of the growing sectors in Singapore and I can contribute to systems which will benefit patients.Ong Wai Teck (WT): For me, it was way before university, during the boom of the Internet era. I was amazed at how webpages could be built by HTML codes. This kick-started my interest in IT. From then on, I progressed further by studying IT in Singapore Polytechnic for my diploma and Computer Science in NTU for my degree. As an IT graduate, there are actually a lot of different industries available. But like Yan Qing, I saw the potential of the healthcare industry and how our work can bring about direct benefits to people’s lives. This was why I chose to work in the HealthTech industry. 2. What are you working on in IHiS?YQ: I am a functional analyst, currently supporting the Outpatient Pharmacy Automation System (OPAS). The OPAS helps to improve efficiency of the prescription filling process and improve manual picking accuracy for certain drugs. It has helped to streamline the picking and packing processes at the pharmacies. This has led to better medication safety and shorter waiting time for patients.WT: I am a functional analyst as well but I am working on the Integrated Pharmacy (iPharm) system. iPharm allows pharmacists and doctors to order medications and send medical dispensing instructions to the Inpatient Pharmacy Automated System (IPAS) and Outpatient Pharmacy Automated System (OPAS). This ensures that medications can be packed accurately and dispensed to the patient seamlessly. 3. What’s exciting about working with the Pharmacy systems? YQ: My daily tasks involve gathering software requirements from the users and translating them into IT logic for the vendor, testing the usability of these requirements and enhancing the system based on users’ feedback. As every institution has different requirements for the OPAS machinery, I am exposed to the various types of robot machines from around the world – ranging from medication dispensing machines from Germany, to loose tablet dispensing robots from the United States, and industrial robot armatures from Switzerland’s car manufacturing and assembling industry. I also need to be familiar with the hardware as these machines would need to fit within the premises of the pharmacies. WT: iPharm forms the core of the entire pharmacy operations across the six healthcare institutions in Singapore. It is critical that the system does not experience any slowness or issues as it will affect the other 100 over systems that are integrated with it. Thus, we have to be on our toes to ensure the robustness and quality of the system to allow the smooth running of the essential services provided. The implementation and maintenance of the system also takes me to the various hospitals and polyclinics around the island.4. Why do you love working in IHiS?YQ: I have seen my family and friends benefit from the technology that I helped to implement at the newly opened healthcare facilities. These technologies enable my family and friends to receive the right medication in a shorter time. I hope that someday, we will be able to implement these systems to all the healthcare institutions in Singapore, so that everyone can benefit from the technologies we have developed.In addition, the fun-loving colleagues I have in my team make the work at IHiS more enjoyable. It’s been a joy to celebrate major project milestones and discuss ideas and strategies to meet our common goals.WT: I agree! The work at IHiS is made more enjoyable with the fun-loving colleagues we have in our team! We also organise team bonding activities to de-stress and celebrate our achievements. Over the years, our team has organised short getaways to Johor Bahru, Port Dickson and Batam!Also, I get to apply the methodologies and theories that I learnt in university to a real-world setting – from managing relationships with the vendors to developing strategies and solutions for the people that I care about. Find out more about careers at IHiS here.