Bronx: St. Barnabas Hospital first in Bronx to be RIVA equipped

By Steven Goodstein, Bronx Times– The future is now for St. Barnabas Hospital and it’s pharmacy’s newly equipped, highly advanced technology.

St. Barnabas Hospital, also known as SBH Health System, located on 442 Third Avenue, is now the home to RIVA (Robotic IV Automation) in an effort to improve its pharmacy and the condition of patients who depend on its hospitality.

The Robotic IV Automation, which recieved a live demonstation from the hospital on Thursday, October 16, is the first robotic pharmacy delivery system in the Bronx that primarily prepares medications for syringes, valves and IV bags for patients, with no human contact whatsoever, eliminating the chances of prescription error and contamination almost automatically.

Three independent pharmacists were trained on RIVA prior to its use. The robot keeps a record of each patient’s information, which can be accessed by doctors and pharmacists by simply scanning the barcode on the patient’s wristband as part of a patient-specific interface.

The wristband’s barcode also helps RIVA provide those in need with their proper prescription dosage as part of a drug tracking system properly formatted for each patient, based on the exchange of information. RIVA also confirms the weight of each dosage with a scale and a picture.

Those who work at St. Barnabas Hospital see this as a great investment for the pharmacy and it’s patients, amidst the expense.

“Investing a large amount of money in advanced technology for the hospital shouldn’t just bring it to present day, but to the future and beyond,” said Ruth Cassidy. vice president and chief pharmacy officer of St. Barnabas Hospital. “RIVA not only puts the hospital ahead of its time, but also ensures its patients that all IV medications will be self contained without any human contact or error.”

Manual preparation of medication by a doctor or pharmacist always presents a chance for contamination and error. RIVA presents a system that avoids both of these factors, and even rejects a prescription if it is not the correct drug or dosage.

It usually takes 42 steps to manually prepare a dosage for a patient. With RIVA, only 12 steps are necessary to prepare a dosage, eliminating 30 of the previous steps. This system, which is also more efficient, not only eliminates steps and risk of contamination, but also frees up time for pharmacists.

Canadian medical device company Intelligent Hospital Systems originally birthed the Robotic IV Automation at their headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2011, after searching for a comprehensive solution for automated preparation of IV medications.

“This idea stemmed not only from the possibility of a doctor’s or pharmacist’s error in a hospital, but from the possibility of human error in general,” said Thomas Doherty, chief technology officer of Intelligent Hospital Systems, who’s background is primarily in air and space travel.

“Out of every 1,000 astronauts, 1.9 astronauts will make a mistake in a spacecraft – which might not seem like much, but is still a very high number when you consider the chance of death in that situation. With RIVA, we took the same exact approach and precautions to prevent any chances of human errors in hospitals.”

“Not all errors may seem big at first – but the consequences of those errors could be severe.”

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at sgood‌stein‌@cngl‌ocal.com.

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