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Are Pharmacy Robots Taking Over?
I’m sure many of you have seen robots become more and more involved in the manufacture of products around the world. Whether it is building cars, electronics, or food manufacture. It’s safe to say that the robots are making a huge impact on the speed and quality of products and service.
The question is are they taking over the pharmacy sector as well?
We know that 100’s of stores across the UK have gained a fellow robotic employee to increase their service value to the community.
Through speaking and visiting our Pharmacy clients we have seen a large increase in the number of stores and hospitals who have chosen opted for some robots. On one of our client visits recently we witnessed two impressive robots working continuously. In the words of some consultants here at Quad Recruitment stated that the robots were “impressive” and “leading the way for a faster and more effective service within busy stores”.
You may be reading this with a robot currently fixed within your workplace and love it, but you may also fear that your job may be at risk? We’re here to clear this up for you. From speaking with our clients about this issue they stated that the robots are simply here to work alongside all the pharmacy workers. The pharmacy robots aren’t there to take over.
Here’s exactly what they can do:
Inventory Management and Storage
Dispensing (this can be to either a collection point or to the dispensary for further checks)
Robotic arms which are used for medicine movement
Loading drawers /capsules
Currently no machine can do all seven of these values. The machine you choose will depend on what tasks you need it to undertake. The role of a dispenser, ACT and Pharmacist will still be required for every store. The dispenser will still restock and undertake further tasks to assist the Pharmacy and the ACT will ensure the items are correct that the robot has passed over.
This would work in a similar way as in other sectors where they have had robots for some time, you still have people working there to oversee, maintain and deliver the goods, the robots are just in place to help speed up that process and make it run smoother. Robots can only do simple tasks such as counting and picking items off a shelf. They can’t listen to people and provide a suitable answer/option. They also can’t feel emotion which is a vital part of being a pharmacist or working in a pharmacy. “With the robots, the task now requires only two technicians. But according to pharmacists and industry observers, pharmacy robots aren't replacing jobs. Instead, they're taking over menial tasks, such as counting pills, and freeing up pharmacists to do higher-order jobs.
The pharmacy of the future will likely not be fully automated, as pharmacists provide expert level insight, knowledge, and management when it comes to pharmaceuticals. For the foreseeable future, AI and robots will not be able to compete with the expertise of pharmacists.”
If we look at what the 2020 World Economic Forum report predicted across all professions that robotics would ‘displace 85 million jobs globally’. Yet it's predicted that the technologies would ‘create 97 million jobs’- generally requiring more skills and education
Now robots are constantly getting better and more accurate, so this is something to look forward to, they are an aid to make your job easier and allow you to focus on more important tasks. This is something that I think is a great move into the future. However, it may be a while before you get one though as they are very expensive. I think a lot of people will agree in saying that robots are going to have a great feature to have in pharmacies of the future.