Beware of the Robot Pharmacist

In tech-driven medicine, alerts are so common that doctors and pharmacists learn to ignore them — at the patient’s risk.

If you add the inaudible alerts, those that signal with flashing lights and text-based messages, there were 2,507,822 unique alarms in one month in our ICUs, the overwhelming majority of them false.

“The phones just never stop ringing,” Chan told me. “There are always nurses coming to the window to pick up their narcotics; the respiratory therapist comes looking for his meds. In going through one patient’s medication orders, I’ll be interrupted six or seven times, at least.”

Without question, robots have many advantages over humans, which is why they are taking over so many tasks, in medicine and other industries.

The robot did it: what medication looks like after the automated system fulfills the orders

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Bob Wachter

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UCSF MD/writer/blogger/speaker...Analyzing healthcare in lively, iconoclastic, & humorous ways. New book: The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm…now available

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Mining the tech world for lively and meaningful tales and analysis.