Central fill’s patient care proposition
Is differentiation the key to building the pharmacy business as patients look for more convenience from their experience, in keeping with consumer trends?
Doyle Jensen, executive vice president at Innovation, said that the Johnson City, N.Y.-based company thinks so and is working to help retailers get there.
“The biggest point of differentiation is consultative services,” Jensen said. “What do they do to make the patient experience and their health and disease state management better, and offer differentiators that can’t be delivered right to their door? Pharmacy automation is one of the pieces to the puzzle that allows them to free up their pharmacists and techs to do patient-facing activities,” he said.
With the emphasis on patient care — and the need for more efficiency in filling scripts to give pharmacists time for it — Jensen said the past five years has seen retail chain pharmacies shift their investment from in-store technology to central-fill automation. He estimated chains can save between 30% and 50% of the labor costs of filling and in-store script.
At the core of Innovation’s pharmacy automation offerings is its PharmASSIST Dispenser Model 4, which is used in all of its dispensing technologies. The Model 4 is a self-calibrating dispenser, which allows immediate on-site auto calibration of medications. Also in the company’s central-fill toolkit is the PharmASSIST RDSx, which is a robotic dispensing technology designed for high volume industrial applications and a high throughput — as well as reliability, Jensen said. “These high-volume pharmacies have become a mission-critical piece of the pharmacy chain’s supply chain. They have to know they can count on these systems 24/7.”
Reliable systems lead to more empowered in-store pharmacies, and Jensen said that Innovation’s high-volume solutions enable clinical opportunities for patients and pharmacists.
“We’re empowering pharmacists to get back to what they went to school for,” he said. “The actual process of putting pills in a vial is not practicing at the top of their license, and it can be done by technology at 100% accuracy. The pharmacies that are relevant today, and will remain relevant, are the ones in which pharmacists engage with the patient.”
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