Innovation is never idle. It doesn’t stop to take a breather or let the rest of the competition catch up. It’s an ongoing process of trial and error, ultimately leading to success.
But just like innovation, success is not evergreen. The saying goes that you are only a success for the moment you perform a successful act. There are few better examples of this than pharmacy automation.
The modern independent pharmacy world places a high value on patient convenience. The sooner your patients get their prescriptions, the better. Pharmacy automation enhances your workflow without sacrificing quality.
Time is money, and pharmacy automation is here to save — and make — you some. Here’s what you need to know about pharmacy automation.
What is Pharmacy Automation?
RxSafe defines pharmacy automation as “the electronic process of distributing, sorting, packaging, and counting prescription medications.”
Just like with several technologies in the pharmacy industry, its aim is to make pharmacy work easier, more efficient, and more effective in a fraction of the time.
As industry tech advances, it’s essential to know how they can enhance your pharmacy work. Pharmacy automation continues to play a huge role in the industry — for pharmacy staff and patients.
As mentioned earlier, pharmacy automation doesn’t just help your pharmacy staff. Pharmacy work always comes down to patient care. And that’s what medication packaging is all about.
Automated medication packaging is a system where machines package medications into single, personalized dosages. This kind of service is especially helpful for patients who take multiple medications, particularly the elderly.
This type of pharmacy automation prevents patients from mixing up their medications or taking multiple doses at a time.
Having a packet of their daily medications will boost patient adherence and overall health.
On your end, medication packaging minimizes lost medications or miscounts. Medication packaging is the perfect example of pharmacy automation helping both sides of the pharmacy counter.
Automated Dispensing Machines
Independent pharmacies often deal with a high volume of prescriptions every day. Your fill queue can be in the high double digits throughout the day as you fulfill all your other pharmacy tasks.
As you probably guessed, automated dispensing machines help boost your pharmacy’s efficiency to unprecedented levels. It does what all parts of pharmacy automation should aim to do: do some of the preliminary heavy lifting while you focus on the task at hand.
ADMs will primarily benefit high-volume pharmacies. The best way to implement these machines is to assign them maintenance medications (blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, etc.) while you focus on more urgently-needed prescriptions.
Though investing in ADMs comes with a sizable cost, it will help your independent pharmacy’s efficiency and bottom line in the long run.
In terms of popularity, electronic prescribing is at the top of the pharmacy automation mountain. Colloquially known as e-scribing (or the noun form “e-scripts”), this example of pharmacy automation lets doctors send prescriptions to pharmacies instantly.
Your pharmacy can receive an e-script from the doctor’s office the moment they click “send.”
Gone are the days when your patients have to drive through mid-day traffic just to drop off a prescription.
On a good day, you might’ve already filled the prescription by the time the patient walks up to your pharmacy counter. On a bad one, they’d have to wait a while to get their medications.
E-scribing is the epitome of pharmacy automation. It retains the attention to detail and painstaking care of original prescriptions — but it makes it easier.
An added bonus is you don’t have to decipher a doctor’s handwriting — the power of pharmacy automation.
Your Pharmacy Software System
Perhaps the greatest deciding factor in your independent pharmacy’s success is the quality of your pharmacy software system.
As we’ve talked about in previous blogs, your software system is your right-hand man as you navigate the choppy waters of daily pharmacy work.
The best pharmacy software systems master the art of pharmacy automation. They know that software is at its best when it empowers the user. The best software systems help streamline complex work processes without sacrificing any quality.
In the evolving world of pharmacy automation, your pharmacy software system must be able to adjust to industry trends and changes at a moment’s notice. It should also adjust to your workflow whenever it changes.
Pharmacy work is different for every independent pharmacy. Find a pharmacy software system that best fits your patient care needs.
Know What to Automate
Though you could automate most of your pharmacy work, you will need to be selective in your automation journey.
As we mentioned earlier, different workflows work with different pharmacy software systems.
If your independent pharmacy focuses on long-term care, you likely won’t need to automate your fill system. Instead, look into patient counseling software. This will give your patients basic information about their medications, giving you more time to look into more complex aspects of patient care.
If your independent pharmacy tends to fill ER medications (antibiotics, steroids, pain medications, etc.), the idea of automated medication packaging likely doesn’t appeal to you. Advancing your pharmacy’s e-scribe capabilities likely sounds more appealing.
Focus on how automation can help your independent pharmacy. In the case of pharmacy automation, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
New problems require new solutions. That applies to business and it absolutely applies to pharmacy work. Automation in pharmacy brings a wealth of innovative solutions that can save you time and money.
Pharmacy work shouldn’t be completely automated. It’s the personal touch that makes independent pharmacies positively stand apart from their chain counterparts. However, automated services improve your pharmacy’s quality of patient care.
If you haven’t already, look into these services and see if they are the best fit for you. Check out ourCompare Software page to see what pharmacy software system works best for you.