One of the best ways to save money in an environment with high healthcare costs is by automating as many systems as possible. Pharmacy-related tasks are some of the most costly and time-intensive tasks in a pharmacy, so it’s important to have your pharmacy automation solutions optimized for your workforce and equipment.
That’s why we wanted to take a look at 10 different options for pharmacy automation solutions that can help you take care of these expensive, time-consuming tasks:
1. Computerized Prescription Filling System
This system provides pharmacists with an easier way to fill prescriptions either manually or electronically by scanning the barcodes on paper prescriptions or prescription pads. It uses a system of computer-generated codes to produce an alphanumeric code that is fed into the prescription copier. The FNS700 is one example of this type of system.
2. Pharmacy Computerized Order Entry System
This system allows pharmacies to select, order and track prescription medications, as well as record corresponding activity and data in real time with the use of barcode technology. The RPS M100 is one example of this type of system.
3. Automated Dispensing Machine
This automated machine can automatically dispense medications such as antibiotics, insulin, or other prescriptions ordered by pharmacists over the phone or from a computer database. The EzRx Modular Solution and the EzRx RBM are examples of this type of machine.
4. Electronic Prescription Monitoring Program
The market for pharmacy automation systems was estimated to be worth USD 4.35 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to rise to USD 8.09 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 8.07% over that period.
This program is a type of EMR that allows pharmacists to track the prescriptions for one or more patients in the facility, including medications, allergies and medical history. The RPS Omnilogic is an example program used by some facilities.
5. Pharmacy Automation Software
This type of software automatically inputs information into existing pharmacy systems so that pharmacists can perform tasks like retrieving drug records and inventory data, running reports and calculating cost per unit. The Pharmacy Management System (PMS) is an example application.
6. Automated Prescription Refilling System
This system is an integrated solution that helps you monitor and manage the refilling of prescriptions, making it easier to manage time, space and inventory. The Automated Prescription Refilling Solution (APRS) is one example.
7. Point of Sale System
This type of software helps streamline pharmacy transactions by tracking inventory, managing customer orders and generating reports on sales activity. The Meijer PSS is one such program.
8. Automated Labeling Machine
In 2017, Omnicell unveiled the Omnicell VBM 200F. Several SureMed medication blister cards are filled and examined.
This machine can quickly print patient name, medication and dosage information onto labels for patient bottles or other items. The RPS Auto ID Labeling System is an example machine that can be used for this purpose.
9. Pharmacy Inventory Management Software
This type of software is used to help pharmacies manage inventory, store and retrieve inventory records, including drug records and prescription information. The FMS is an example application.
10. Pharmacy Automation Software
This software can increase efficiency with tasks such as retrieving information in a central pharmacy database or interfacing with the patient’s health insurance company to retrieve medication payments, while also alerting pharmacists when they are preparing prescriptions that are not paid for in advance. The PBIS softare is an example application.
What Is Pharmacy Automation
Pharmacy Automation is one of the ways to bring in the high operational efficiency, low operational errors and increased productivity. It is a software or hardware that helps in automated tasks such as orders and prescription deliveries.
In order to establish a full selection of IV compounding equipment across their health systems, Omnicell and DCH Health Systems teamed together in 2017. Today’s pharmacy industry has numerous independent small-sized pharmacies that offer chain pharmacy services to various customers.
Every day thousands of prescription orders come in its way that includes hard copy prescriptions, phone orders and on line order through computer etc. The task management appears to be complex which does not make it easy for the pharmacists to handle these requests from clients at a time.
How To Pick A Suitable Pharmacy Automation Software
Your pharmacy automation system should be sufficient to meet all your needs and requirements. It should be compatible with all the current and future devices, networks, programs, standards, requirements and computer hardware for fault tolerance & security.
Each pharmaceutical company has its own preferred pharmacy software platform and only their own employees will understand how to administer or make changes on these systems.
Benefits Of Pharmacy Automation
Pharmacy automation is the use of technology to automate the process of dispensing medications. This can include everything from robots that dispense medications to computer systems that track and manage inventory.
Automation can improve patient outcomes by reducing errors and increasing efficiency. Health system pharmacies are increasingly adopting automation technologies to improve medication dispensing and inventory management.
In 2016, Omnicell acquired Ateb, Inc., a company that offers chain and independent pharmacies pharmacy-based patient care solutions and medication synchronisation. As the volume of prescriptions filled by pharmacies continues to grow, automation solutions are being implemented to improve patient outcomes and safety.
Pharmacy automation systems help to manage the increasing prescription volumes while ensuring accuracy and compliance with regulations. These systems can automate many tasks, including filling prescriptions, labeling and packaging medications, and verifying insurance coverage.
1. Reduce The Time And Efforts
Due to automation, one can accomplish any series of task and instructions with little time in a very effective way. For example- In today’s world, we have an online pharmacy which is automated by the software to receive the request from its customers.
And once the request is received by the software, it processes that request by compiling all the details of it or simply putting notes about it. Once all documents are ready for approval for signing off and sending to other department, then everything will be done under little time in an efficient manner.
2. Enhance Accuracy
The pharmacy automation system market was valued at $5001 million in 2020, and QY Research Medical predicts that it will rise to $11211 million by 2030, at a CAGR of 8.6%.
One of the biggest advantages of automation is accurate and reliable information at any point as well as anytime be it day or night. It is one of the biggest advantage which a pharmacy can enjoy, as they generally receive lots of prescription orders every day which they need to process and edit according to the needs.
3. Prevent Prescription Error
It helps in avoiding the errors and mistakes in prescriptions that ultimately saves lives of many people. It allows editing near perfect prescriptions rather than writing it down manually by pharmacists.
This type of automation is useful for pharmacists as well as customers both because without errors, customers will not have to return the items due to prescription error because it will be fully automated and accurate as well. And similarly, pharmacists can serve more customers in less time with accuracy.
4. Reduce Manual Labor
It is another reason why pharmacists prefer to use pharmacy automation. Without the use of prescription automation, a lot of effort is put in the pharmacy to meet their service needs.
For example, today’s world has its advanced technology which can be used by the pharmacist to do certain tasks and make them automated. For example- The RPS M100 is an AI capable machine which can scan bar codes, read medication labels and automatically print labels for automatic insertion into bottles with just one click.
It eliminates the need for tedious procedures such as order entry and handling of prescriptions. So with this machine all tedious tasks are done by the AI software, so that pharmacist can focus more on his other functions.
5. Reduce Mistakes
This type of automation helps in reducing the number of mistakes which are mostly made by humans. And with the help of machines, you can easily avoid those errors to make your work more accurate and reliable which will ultimately save a lot of time of pharmacists as well as customers.
For example- The RPS M100 printer machine was developed through AI that has the ability to read all prescription information including medication name, lot number, expiration date and other important details such as dosage and administration.
If there is any error in reading or writing prescriptions then it can be easily identified by the pharmacist at the earliest possible time.
6. Reduce Billing Complaints
It is also known as “statement reconciliation”. It checks discrepancies between prescription fill rates and charge items. The software provides a detailed list of what items were charged to the patient’s account and which items were billed to insurance companies.
This program can be easily downloaded on the computer to check all types of details like how much was billed, how many items were charged, whether the patient agreed for certain item or not etc.
This program helps in tracking down prescription errors which helps in reducing insurance billing problems for pharmacies. It can also help pharmacists work efficiently with little effort.
7. Minimize Manual Data Entry
Pharmacy software minimizes manual data entry associated with orders, prescriptions, inventory and pharmacy processes. It can eliminate the tedious process of data entry from the pharmacist’s side.
8. Helps In Improving Customer Service And Satisfaction
It also helps in enhancing customer service and high level of satisfaction for patients by automating information exchange between customer, pharmacist and insurance companies. The automation software enables pharmacists to improve customer service by receiving their prescription orders instantly.
It also benefits customers by providing prescriptions in the desired dosage at a time they want them without any additional effort on the part of pharmacists. And with those outcomes, both customers and pharmacists are pleased as well as satisfied with this type of automation system.
Risks Of Pharmacy Automation
One way that pharmacies are looking to increase efficiency and reduce costs is by changing their business model. Instead of having pharmacy staff dispense controlled substances, they are outsourcing this to a third-party company.
This change can help to increase efficiency by reducing the time it takes to dispense these medications. The pharmacy automation market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 7.9% from 2022 to 2027, from USD 5.6 billion to USD 8.2 billion.
Patient care is of the utmost importance in pharmacies, and increasing efficiency can help pharmacists provide better care for their customers.
There are a number of ways to increase efficiency in pharmacies, such as streamlining processes, automating tasks, and improving communication. By increasing efficiency, pharmacies can provide better care for their patients and improve the overall customer experience.
If the system is not secured properly then there is a risk of theft of your information which can be used by your competitors or other competitors in the field.
For example- If you have a pharmacy software in your pharmacy, then be careful that any other pharmacist who is having same software or has access to your Pharmacy automation software, can steal data from your database as well as it can copy all pieces of work which you have done so far and use it for their benefit since there is no bar on copying of any program or system.
2. Audit Reports May Fail
Audit reports are used to verify accuracy and completeness of processing. This is an important factor which is considered before taking the final decision in choosing a software for pharmacy automation. If audit reports fail, then it can be a big problem for you so be careful about it that your pharmacy software does not have any loophole.
3. IT System Failure
Another major worry is if there is any failure in your system or anybody hacks it or breaks into your system then you not only lose your reputation but also get into a lot of trouble and lose trust over other people as well.
So you must ensure that your pharmacy automation software has extensive security measures to avoid security breach and keep copyright protection on all of your work to remain protected from other competitors who may wish to steal or copy data from your database.
4. Change In Pharmacy Industry
There is always a risk associated with change and every time when you are doing major changes in your life then there is a risk of failure. Similarly, making some big changes in pharmacy industry can lead to failure in your business as well.
For example- if you change the way you work then some of your valued customers may not be happy with the changes and they may decide to move to another pharmacist who provides exactly what they want but with automation, it all depends upon how much time you invest in learning new technology.
Because if you cannot understand the system and it works badly, then there will be no benefits at all. You will also have to be cautious about security issues. So you should be careful about it.
5. Risk Of Financial Loss
If you are not careful enough, then your pharmacy automation software may lead to financial loss in both your personal and professional life.
For example- If you use a pharmacy automation system which is badly designed then there will be no benefits at all but it can lead to financial loss if it fails to perform its functions properly and you don’t pay enough attention while selecting the software.
So always ensure that the software being used by your pharmacy is safe, reliable, effective and accurate before purchasing it because otherwise when you start using such a system all hell can break lose in your life, both professionally and personally as well.
6. Few People Will Be Able To Understand It
It is true that pharmacy automation system is complex, but then, if you are a pharmacist and you need to use it on a daily basis, then there will be some people who will be able to understand it.
However, if you also need to use this system for marketing purposes in your business or for explaining your business processes to customers so that they can understand it more easily and thus shop at your pharmacy more frequently.
Then there are many people who may not be able to understand such complex system and they may not even care about the benefits of this technology in their working life.
7. Trust Issues
In a world which is full of scams, vulnerabilities, and threats to your personal information, it is always very important for you to have a higher level of trust with your patients and staff.
If there is any fear among people that their personal data can be stolen from your databases then they will not show up at the pharmacy and suffer from all the consequences of the delay in getting their prescription filled.
So you must understand this risk and be prepared for it before purchasing any pharmacy software.
8. Automation Generally Not Affordable
If you want to use automation system then it will definitely cost you more than other types of computer software. It is not affordable by everyone.
So you must ensure that you have the financial capability to buy such a system initially and after that it is a good investment for your business as well. The prescription costs can also be easily reduced in case of automation as it can reduce overall pharmacy costs which in turn can increase your profits.
The future of automation is bright in the pharmacy industry and one should always look out for new tech to help your business grow exponentially. That said, there are certain questions that you need to ask before making this investment.
For example- How much would it cost? How long would it take to implement? What is the return on investment? Would you hire an outside consultant or a team for assistance? These are some of the top questions that every pharmacist must ask themselves before implementing such a system.
We can proudly say that this technology will definitely make our life easier, but having said that we should be cautious about its drawbacks as well.