A Vision of the Autonomous Pharmacy for One of the World’s Largest Hospitals

Anne Mostue of Bloomberg Radio recently toured the Massachusetts General Hospital pharmacy and interviewed Christopher Fortier, PharmD, Chief Pharmacy Operator, about his partnership with Omnicell and how the vision of an autonomous pharmacy will advance his goals for pharmacy. Some of their conversation is summarized below.

Mass General is one of the world’s largest general hospitals with 1,000-beds, and it is planning to build a new facility with another 400+ beds. The hospital has followed a more traditional approach to medication management, with a massive 24/7 pharmacy operation on the basement floor. Humans do most of the work—an approach that is not only costly, but risks the possibility of error. His ultimate goal is having his pharmacists spend less time in the basement and more time on the hospital floor providing direct patient care.

Why does Fortier feel that it is important for his pharmacists to be involved in patient care? “When we are trained in pharmacy school, we are very much more clinically trained. When you talk about medications, not only the complexities—the cost, the risks of medication errors, lack of patient adherence, it’s really important for pharmacists to be side-by-side with patients counseling them, for example, when they are going to be discharged, to make sure they are going home on the right medications. But because of other tasks like drug preparation and distribution, we are not able to get fully into that spectrum of care,” Fortier explained.

Fortier’s vision is to integrate technology and automation at all steps of the medication use process. He wants to get the human factor out of the process to make it more efficient and leverage data intelligence to drive better decision making. “This is not just in the hospital,” he says. “We can have an impact from the minute a patient hits the emergency department to all the way to their home.”

Listen to the full Bloomberg interview here. Show Hosts: Tom Moroney, Joe Shortsleeve, and Anne Mostue. Producer: Dan Pierce.

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