4 Benefits of an Automated Pharmacy
Think about your last trip to the pharmacy…
Did you stroll in, hand over your prescription and leave five minutes later? Or, did you show up, drop off your prescription, wander around for a bit, pretend to be interested in some magazines and wait some more before finally getting your medication? Maybe you just dropped your prescription off and made a second trip to the pharmacy the next day. Odds are, it was more like the last two scenarios than the first. There was a lot of waiting around and you probably felt your time could be better spent elsewhere.
This is where technology comes in.
One of the biggest fears about technology and automation is that it’s going to result in a lower quality service. That people provide better service than a robot is undeniable (at least for now), but what can happen is that technology can actually put us in a position to receive better service from real, live people.
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Automated Medication Dispensing Systems
Automated dispensing machines or decentralized medication distribution systems offer computer-controlled dispensing, storage, and tracking of medicines. These systems are recommended as a potential mechanism to improve patient safety and efficiency.
Types of Pharmacy Automation Systems
There are five chief types of pharmacy automation systems:
- Automated packaging and labeling
- Automated compounding systems
- Automated pharmacy prescription dispensing system
- Storage and retrieval systems
- Table-top tablet counters
Improved Pharmacy Inventory
Inventory is the most extensive investment and ongoing expense for most pharmacies, and managing it well has a significant influence on profitability.
Some tips for improved pharmacy inventory are:
- Adjust and monitor the perpetual inventory system
- Know what you have
- Capping inventory will help in reducing the risk of product expiring
- Keep sufficient stock of OTC as well as prescription medicines
Medication dispensing is the preparation and delivery of medicines to patients in clinical settings. Automated dispensing manages dosing and inventory to make dispensing efficient, safe, and cost-effective to help patients manage treatment plans.
Pharmacy Benefit Managers
Pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) are companies managing prescription drug benefits on behalf of Medicare Part D drug plans, health insurers, large employers, and other payers.
By dealing with pharmacies and drug manufacturers to check drug spending, PBMs significantly impact patients’ access to medications, determine the total drug costs, and decide how much pharmacies are paid.
Medication adherence refers to whether patients take drugs as prescribed (for instance, twice daily) and whether they continue taking them.
Medication non-adherence is becoming a concern to healthcare systems, clinicians, and other stakeholders as it is associated with adverse outcomes and higher healthcare costs.
Automated dispensing systems are seen to improve medication adherence.
Medication errors are among the most common medical errors, which harms about 1.5 million people every year. This additional medical costs of managing drug-related injuries observed just in hospitals are at least $3.5 billion a year, and this cost does not include productivity, lost wages, or additional health care costs. Medication mortality and morbidity cost about 77 billion dollars per year.
Preventable errors occur when systems for ordering medicine or safely prescribing are not used appropriately.
Some common ones include:
- Errors because of missing or insufficient information about past dose-response relationships, co-prescribed medications, allergic sensitivities, and laboratory values.
- Illegible handwritten prescriptions.
- Errors in prescribing may happen when a regimen is too complicated, or an incorrect dose or drug is selected.
- While prescriptions are transmitted orally, sound-alike names may be mistaken for each other.
- Drugs with similar names may be incorrectly dispensed if prescriptions are handwritten.
- If prescriptions are not filled by the patient or not transmitted to a pharmacy.
- Physician sampling of drugs may contribute to medication errors due to drug utilization review and adequate documentation.
An automated medication dispensing system is one of the common ways to prevent medication errors.
Get your prescription at your door with automated online pharmacies.
Zero Error Medication Management
In the space of medication management, pharmacists are both the air traffic controller and the pilot. Automated dispensing technology is helping pharmacists to achieve zero error medication.
Evaluating Online Pharmacy Solution
Online pharmacies offer all kinds of pharmaceutical preparations, including prescription drugs online. But, as many pharmacies operate from remote places, very little information is available about them.
Many types of research have been finding solutions to improve the benefits and lower the risk of online pharmacies. They have come up with two solutions:
- Levy laws that regulate the phenomenon at the international level.
- To improve health literacy required to make health choices, recognize risk, and make the most of the various opportunities offered by online pharmacies.
Here’s how PocketPills improve the pharmacy experience using technology and automation:
1. Faster service
Remember all that time you spent waiting around for your prescription to be filled? That happens because your pharmacist has to manually fill your order. That involves things like finding your medication, counting out the correct number of pills that are required to fulfill the doctor’s orders (if you’re using pills), ensuring that the dosage is correct, identifying potential drug interactions if you’re on more than one medication, printing out labels and, if necessary, placing a call to your doctor to double check any information (or even to ask what’s written on the prescription itself).
All that adds up, especially when you take into consideration that the pharmacist isn’t just working on your prescription. There’s very likely a stack of orders to fill.
With the right kinds of technology, this wait is virtually eliminated. Our automated system, for example, can package the medication of 10 people, in 15 minutes. Not only does it package more, faster, but the medication comes out packed in individual packets sorted by dose in our Pocket Packs.
When you compare that to the amount of time it takes for one person’s medication to be put into a single pill container, the difference is incredible.
2. Better service
Here’s where things start getting really nice.
Along with being able to provide service faster, our pharmacists no long spend a lot of time measuring and counting out medication. They can focus more on providing better care and helping you manage and properly administer your medication, manage any side-effects you may be experiencing, as well as helping find treat and manage disease conditions.
We take full advantage of that by giving you a direct link to our pharmacists. Our app lets you connect to our pharmacists instantly to ask any questions that you may have via our secure, built-in chat feature (something you can’t do anywhere else).
We use the app to take this one step further, you can use it to fill prescriptions online, renew prescriptions, manage not just your medication, but the medication for everyone you care for from a single log in, and even arrange for your medication to arrive at your door when you need it most.
3. More savings
We’re always looking for ways to pass the savings on to you. By taking many of the mundane tasks associated with filling prescriptions and automating them, we eliminate a huge portion of the manual labour costs that are associated with running a pharmacy. This translates into huge savings for you.
And, since there’s no physical location to pay for, we don’t have storefront markups and other related costs that come with having a physical location, like property maintenance, rent and the costs of offering the kinds of non-pharmacy products you see in most retail pharmacies.
These things not only let us charge a lower $7 dispensing fee but, best of all, it allows to offer free delivery of your medication to your door.
We not only use automation to save you money, but you also get the additional benefit of not having to visit a pharmacy every time you need a refill or get a new prescription, potentially saving you up to 40 hours a year, depending on how many trips you make the pharmacy each month..
4. Improved accuracy
This is a big one. When it comes to medication, accuracy matters. Errors can creep up in a number of different ways. It can happen if you forget whether you’ve taken today’s medication already, it can happen during the packaging process it can even happen because your doctor’s handwriting wasn’t as clear as it could be. we’ve put technology in place to ensure these things don’t happen
Our technology greatly improves accuracy. Pocket Packs are packaged by dose and clearly labeled with instructions, so you’re never left guessing if you’ve missed something. Our automation technology take a picture of each pouch and checks it against a database that uses pill shape to ensure 99.9% accuracy (a pharmacist double checks each pack, as well). And, best of all, when paired with digital prescription technology, there’s never any guesswork when it comes to reading your prescription.
Pocketpacks are the safest and easiest way to take medication. Some benefits of taking pocketpacks are:
- Simplifies medication management
- Sorted by dose
- Synchronized refills
- Eco-friendly option.
Learn more about Pocketpacks here.
Pro and Cons of Dispensing Systems
- Automated machines fill prescriptions faster than humans
- Patients do not have to wait for long to get the medicines
- They are safer as many manual errors can be avoided
- Medicines are stored in a sterile environment
- Dedicating mundane work like filling a prescription to the machine allows medical staff to focus on customer service
- Medications are offered securely and offer more security
- There is no common machine code
- Prone to mistake if a wrong medicine is loaded in the machine
- If the machine malfunctions, limited staff may be available, causing delays
- Software issues may cause the machine to hang or fail without warning
Experience a modern pharmacy
PocketPills takes full advantage of modern technology to provide a level of service you can’t get anywhere else. And, we’re constantly working on ways to make things even better for you. Our pharmacists are working closely with software engineers to revolutionize how pharmacies operate.
If you’re ready to see for yourself just how automation and technology can work together to help bring you a better pharmacy experience, you’re in the right place. We provide better, fater service, at a lower cost, delivered right to your door. It’s time to stop going to the pharmacy and let the pharmacy come to you. Contact us today!