When ScriptPro started introducing pharmacy robots, it entered an industry where the pharmacist was mostly dolling out medications. Today, pharmacy automation and technology continue to evolve, freeing pharmacists’ time and taking on everything from workflow automation to smart-phone applications.
QS/1 has supplemented its pharmacy software systems — the latest version will come out later this year — by developing smart-phone applications, like MobileRx, designed to streamline medication refills. “[Patients] want a quick and easy way to refill their prescriptions,” QS/1 senior sales and account manager Rich Muller told Drug Store News. “Everyone has their cell phone pretty much attached to the hip, in their pocket or in their purse.”
But automation happens outside the view of customers as well. Health Market Science has developed various tools that allow pharmacists to stay up to date on information about prescribers by aggregating and validating data from thousands of sources. “It’s retail pharmacy incorporating prescriber data in the workflow process; it’s retail pharmacy validating prescribers real-time before a prescription is being dispensed,” said Craig Ford, Health Market Science SVP sales for the pharmacy segment.
Behind the counter, too, companies are streamlining workflow. Innovation Associates plans to unveil a series of countertop counting machines later this year that EVP Doyle Jensen said would be a “game changer.” The company also plans to introduce a semi-automated counting system in a pilot program with 14 chains.
Meanwhile, ScriptPro has branched into telepharmacy, with a system now used by the U.S. Navy and small, remote towns. “Telepharmacy allows pharmacists to have the same level of control, accuracy and patient interactions across a wide area,” ScriptPro president and CEO Mike Coughlin told Drug Store News.