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In St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, a new robotic system is being used to fill IV medications. The new system, called RIVA, replaced the human element in the filling of medications in hopes that the high number of IV medication errors will drop.

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According to a report in the New York Daily News, IV medication error rates rose 52% between the years of 2004 and 2008. These types of medical errors can often have drastic consequences, resulting in serious injury or death. In fact, each year there are 7,000 deaths from IV medication error, and hundreds of thousands get sick from medication-related errors. According to some estimates, the financial cost of medication errors exceeds $3.5 billion annually.

The new RIVA system uses artificial intelligence to fill the IVs and sterilizes the medication at the same time, using UV rays. Dr. Ruth Cassidy, vice president and chief pharmacy officer of St. Barnabas Hospital’s pharmacy department, explains that the new system decreases the chance of any medication error by completely removing the possibility for fatigue or contamination, the two main problems when humans are used to fill the medications.

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