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Last week, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) adopted a fully integrated smart system for its pharmaceutical transactions in DHA hospitals and health centres to combat counterfeit medicines and eliminate medication errors. 

The fully integrated system includes a number of smart pharmacies across DHA facilities for dispensing and prescribing medication through a unified barcoding system. 
So far around 36 million items were barcoded and integrated within the formulary smart app, which resulted in zero dispensing errors in 2017 and 2018.

The smart pharmacies saw wait times reduced to an average of 2.6 minutes, increasing the time allocated for explaining medication instruction to an average of 5.65 minutes. And by reducing average processing time from 22.5 minutes in 2016 to 7.9 minutes in 2018, the outpatient satisfaction rate increased from 69 per cent in 2016 to 94 per cent this year.

By implementing this initiative, DHA saved Dh3.48 million over two years, and pharmacists’ happiness increased from 73.5 per cent in 2016 to 85 per cent in 2017.

So far, DHA has inaugurated four smart pharmacies in its facilities, including Rashid Hospital, Dubai Hospital, Latifa Hospital and the Trauma Centre at Rashid Hospital. These smart pharmacies are operated via a robot that can store up to 35,000 medicines, prepare 12 prescriptions in a minute and dispense 8,000 medicines in an hour. The system is also fully integrated with SALAMA EPIC EMR. 

DHA is the first government authority in the region to implement the SMART Barcoding system. Its benefits include eliminating medication errors and combating counterfeit medicines as it can track, trace and recall any medicine distributed throughout the DHA. It also includes a SMART cold chain management system, which gives voice alerts and text messages if temperatures exceeds limits.

The smart pharmacy at Latifa Hospital was inaugurated on Monday by His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, Director General of DHA, in the presence of Dr Ali Al Sayed, Director of the Pharmaceutical Services Department of DHA and Dr Mona Tahlak, CEO of Latifa Hospital. 

Al Qutami said by adopting a fully integrated smart system for pharmaceutical transactions in its facilities, DHA is reducing the chance of mistakes when dispensing medication and improving customer satisfaction.