Health Ministry's automated pharmacy system wins project management award

SINGAPORE - An automated system for selecting and packing medications at the pharmacy, which was developed by the Ministry of Health's IT arm, has won an award in project management.

The Outpatient Pharmacy Automation System (Opas) has helped to halve patient waiting times, improve medication safety, and cut down reworking - when prescriptions have to be sent back - by two-thirds.

It is currently used at the National University Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and National Healthcare Group Pharmacy.

The project, which was developed and managed by the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), received the Singapore Project Management Institute's (SPMI) Project Of the Year Award on Thursday. SPMI is the Singapore branch of the global professional accreditation body, Project Management International.

IHiS chief executive Dr Chong Yoke Sin, said: "We have created in Opas one of the region's fastest high-speed, high-capacity pharmacy systems. It involves integration of seven multi-disciplinary technologies and robotics from various industries worldwide, with locally developed software.

"The system is also the region's first to combine different packaging machines for drugs in blister packs, boxes and loose form into one system, and to use robotic armatures from the Swiss car manufacturing industry in healthcare," Dr Chong added.

"In addition, the system harmonises three healthcare institutions' workflows into one seamless process. These require a wide range of expertise and outstanding project management skills," she noted.

IHiS plans to implement the pharmacy system at more healthcare institutions over the next two years.