In a world where modern convenience is synony­mous with machines, the introduction of a so-called “pharmacy in a box” will create efficiency for the people of Ontario, say its creators.

The large green and white kiosks resemble ATM machines and dispense pills like vending machines. With a real pharmacist linked in by video, the mini-pharmacies can take a patient’s prescription and dispense medication any time of day.

Four of the kiosks have already landed in Toronto-area hospitals, according to the Ontario Hospital Association, and eight more kiosks will be added to hospitals and remote areas across the province.

“We see this concept, this idea of two-way video conferencing to a pharmacist, as the way of the future in health care,” said Tom Closson, the association’s president and chief executive officer, as he described the machine as the beginning of a virtual approach to the delivery of health services in Canada.

With a prescription, a patient can pick up a phone attached to the machine and reach a pharmacist through video conference 24 hours a day. The pharmacist can counsel the patient and has full control of the medication being dispensed.

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