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CHEK News: Victoria Pharmacy Debuts ‘spencer’ Pill Robot

A pharmacy in Victoria is the second in the country to pioneer a new tool that helps patients taking multiple medications maintain their independence.

It goes by the name of spencer, and it is an interactive pill dispensing machine designed to make sure patients prescribed multiple medications are taking their required dose of time daily. And Cridge Family Pharmacy in downtown Victoria is the second in Canada to start using the new technology.

“The target patient is anybody with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, anybody who is even forgetful for their medications or anybody who is not fully compliant,” said registered nurse Allie Guenther.

Numbers show approximately 25 percent of hospital ER visits are due to medication-related errors. Guenther says spencer is meant to decrease errors drastically.

"The technology is quite a bit safer than if there is human manipulation of the medication and we haven't had any errors so far,” said Guenther.

The spencer technology is relatively new as it first came out in Canada in August 2017. Cridge Family Pharmacy began using it in late October. The machine is free if you qualify and is refilled with a pre-packaged pharmacy pack that's delivered weekly.

Patients then insert the pack into the spencer machine, and the appropriate dose of medicine is dispensed according to each patient's personalized regime.

spencer also allows caregivers to remotely monitor how the patient is complying with their medicine schedule through an app.

"On the app, it will say things like your mom or your sister have been 70 percent compliant with their medication, or your mom missed one medication dose today, things like that," said Guenther

Wendy Hamer has Parkinson's disease among other conditions and has to take five different medications, five times each day, which proved difficult with her illness to open each bottle and take them herself individually.

“Pills went everywhere and this way it doesn’t it’s much safer,” said Hamer.

Hamer qualified to use spencer and has been using it for the past month calling it a life-changing tool.

“Makes you look forward to each day being a lot better than what it was before," said Hamer.

As technology continues to advance in the healthcare field, the spencer machine is just another tool in the tool belt to help patients stay at home longer and maintain their independence.

Learn more about spencer and the team at Cridge Family Pharmacy:

<a href="">Watch as Luisa Alvarez from CHEK News introduces us to a patient that says the tool has changed her life.&nbsp;</a>