What It Is
An advancement in digital technologies which enables pharmacies to handle high prescription loads safely and efficiently. The Outpatient Pharmacy Automation System (OPAS), a signature project by IHiS, is how we envision a Smart Nation for healthcare. OPAS integrates seven multi-disciplinary technologies and robotics that automates the prescription filling process and improves manual picking accuracy for certain drugs.
OPAS is currently used at Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic, Changi General Hospital, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), National Healthcare Group Pharmacy (NHGPh), National Skin Centre (NSC), National University Hospital (NUH), Pioneer Polyclinic, Punggol Polyclinic, Sengkang General Hospital (SGH), Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and Yishun Polyclinic.
IHiS will roll out OPAS in more institutions over the next few years, including the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) and other polyclinics.
Why is OPAS unique?
OPAS is the first in the region to integrate different high-speed packaging machines for drugs in blister packs, boxes and loose tablets, into one complete, end-to-end system.
The best of pharmaceutical technologies were sought, as well as the latest robotics from various industries worldwide such as the car manufacturing and assembling industries, and integrated them to create OPAS.
These technologies include:
•High speed medication dispensing machines from Germany
•Loose tablet dispensing robot from United States, with 99.99% accuracy rate
•LED light guided manual picking system to guide staff and improve accuracy of manual medication picking
•RFID-enabled shelves for faster and easier identification of patients' medication
•Barcode-enabled conveyor system to quickly move medication totes
•Industrial robot armatures from Switzerland's car industry to pick and assemble totes.
At the heart of OPAS is an intelligent software system that orchestrates the entire prescription filling process, which the team constantly enhances to better facilitate the workflow process.
Broadly, the workflow process involves the following:
1.Doctor prescribes medication electronically.
2.Pharmacy technicians will review, clarify and confirm the medication orders with patients.
3.Once confirmed, the packing process will be triggered and OPAS machines will automatically pick and pack the drugs.
4.Packed medication are delivered to pharmacists at the front counters via conveyor systems, for them to review before dispensing the medication to patients.
For Healthcare Staff
By automating 80% of the medication dispensing workflow, OPAS has substantially streamlined processes, and decreased rework rates by two-thirds. As such, reliance on trained manpower is reduced, allowing their re-deployment to serve up to 50% more patients at the front dispensing counters.
Furthermore, the easily scalable systems allow OPAS to keep up with the demand of Singapore's rapidly aging population.
Patient safety is improved with the automation of at least 90% of the drugs dispensed, thereby helping to achieve 90% of stock traceability in the event of any drug recall activation. Near misses for wrong drug and strength have also dropped by over 27.4%.
Patient experience is enhanced as the automation of the labour intensive tasks reduces their waiting times by as much as 50%.
Additional InformationThe OPAS system has clinched many national and regional awards including:
World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) Global ICT Excellence Awards, 2021 - Runner-Up of the Innovative eHealth Solutions Award (Public Sector)
- Allied Health Innovative Practice Award 2016
Singapore Health Quality Service Award 2016, Merit—Service Initiative Improvement Team
Asia Pacific InfoComm Technology Alliance (APICTA) Merit Award for Health & Wellbeing 2015
Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation Award 2015, Silver—Best Innovative Use of Infocomm Technology (Public Sector)
Asian Hospital Management Excellence Award 2015—Innovation in Healthcare IT
HIMSS Elsevier Award 2015—Outstanding ICT Innovation
HIMSS Elsevier Award 2015—Outstanding ROI Achievement
Singapore Project Management Institute Project of The Year Award 2014/2015
MOH IT Excellence in Providing Quality Care Award 2015
National Infocomm Award 2014, First Runner-Up, Most Innovative Use of Infocomm Technology (Public Sector)
Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation Award 2014, Gold - Best Public Sector Product
CIO Asia Award 2014