Northwest Hospital Implements Robotic Solution to Hasten and Track Medication Deliveries

BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Northwest Hospital will be harnessing a high-tech solution to a low-tech function: tracking and delivering medications to patient units in a timely and efficient manner. The hospital’s new TUG robot®, built by Pittsburgh-based Aethon, will transport medications to patient floors around the clock—and it will never need a sick day or vacation time.

More than 400 TUG robots are being used in hospitals across the country as a solid business solution that improves workflow and increases efficiency in healthcare. The TUGs are completely autonomous, able to “call” elevators, open doors, stop for obstacles and safely navigate hallways without human assistance. With a towing capacity exceeding 500 pounds, TUGs can be customized to meet the specific needs of any hospital.

Northwest will be deploying its TUG in tandem with MedEx, Aethon’s proprietary medication tracking system that uses barcode scanning, passive radio frequency identification and extensive security features. MedEx allows the hospital pharmacy to pinpoint the location of every medication while it’s en route to its destination as well as provides a complete chain-of-custody report for each delivery. The system integrates all forms of delivery, including robotic, human courier or pneumatic tube. The transaction record for each dose captures the patient’s name; nursing unit; loading time; the name of personnel loading, delivering or tubing the medication; and the time and name of the person retrieving the medication at the patient unit.

“Aethon’s TUG robot will help ensure that medications are delivered to patients more promptly and more reliably than ever before,” said Northwest Hospital’s Director of Pharmacy Ken Mercer. “We make every effort to ensure that nurses and other clinical staff can focus their attention on patients. This medication solution is just one more way that we’re making that happen.”

“Using MedEx, Northwest will be able to track the progress of every medication dose in real time and ensure a complete electronic chain-of-custody report,” said Aethon President Aldo Zini. “No other medication tracking system can be seamlessly used with all methods of medication delivery, which is what makes MedEx an appealing and efficient solution for hospitals.”

Northwest Hospital is a 264-bed community hospital serving the healthcare needs of residents in the northwest Baltimore area. The hospital provides care for medical, surgical, behavioral health, rehabilitative and hospice patients. Northwest functions differently from the traditional hospital in that it creates an environment conducive to direct patient care through smaller 20-bed units; elimination of nursing stations; and supplies, medications and charts placed in close proximity to patients. Northwest Hospital is part of LifeBridge Health, one of the largest most comprehensive providers of healthcare in northwest Baltimore. LifeBridge Health also includes Sinai Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, and related subsidiaries and affiliates. For more information, visit

Aethon provides industry-leading, technology-based logistics solutions to hospitals with MedEx and TUG robots. More than 400 TUG self-guided robots can currently be found in 135 hospitals transporting medication, meals, equipment, supplies, linens, lab specimens and more. Collectively, these robots log 50,000 deliveries weekly. More information about Aethon is available at


Carol Stevenson, 818-597-8453, x3
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