3 Aspects of Pharmacy Business That You Can Automate: Are You Still Doing Things Manually?
Automation is advancing in many industries. In fact, pharmacies are now making use of automation to improve their customer service, reduce costs, free up valuable time, and more. What are some ways automation is transforming this industry today?
Gone are the days of counting pills for many pharmacists. With the help of robots, this task can now be done manually. Pharmacists may fill hundreds of prescriptions every day, especially those who work in a hospital. With this volume, multiple technicians were needed to input the medication, handle the insurance, and complete other tasks associated with a new script. A pill counter can take on many of these tasks, saving time and money in the process.
Platte Valley Pharmacy in Brighton, Colorado brought in a robot to assist with these tasks and the results have been outstanding. Tom Gierwatoski, RPh, states he is now filling 300 prescriptions on average every day rather than the 200 previously being filled before the process became automated. Furthermore, he now only has one technician handling the inputting of these scripts. Other workers can now take on tasks that are more profitable and more rewarding. However, this is only one way routine pharmacy tasks may be automated.
Pharmacists and their technicians often spend time completing forms, sending faxes, or making phone calls to obtain authorization for a particular medication for a customer. With the help of automation, these tasks may be eliminated. The pharmacy simply chooses to invest in a plug-in module that will handle the authorization process by integrating with electronic health records. However, this is only one benefit of choosing to add on to the program.
Many modules come with a price transparency tool that provides information on the benefits of the drug for the specific patient. Furthermore, it shares information about the cost of the drug at the point of care. As a result, pharmacists are better able to make informed decisions concerning medications for their clients. Better care is always appreciated by those who are ill, and these modules help to ensure they receive the best care available today.
In the past, pharmacists focused on the dispensing of medications. Today, however, more are taking on expanded roles. Certain states allow pharmacies to offer immunizations and vaccines, while others allow pharmacists to have a role in clinical testing. The average pharmacist sees patients 35 times a year and can be of great help in keeping his or her customers out of hospitals and physician offices. With the help of automation, more time can be spent with the patient.
In fact, a new medication therapy management program through CMS management is testing monthly visits for patients of a pharmacy. This will help to track interventions, outcomes and more. As pharmacists see patients more frequently than doctors do, bringing them into the healthcare system more to improve the quality of care patients receive will be of great benefit. Automation is of help here, as it frees up the pharmacist’s time to take on tasks such as these.
Additionally, human error becomes less of a concern when tasks are automated. Not only will the robot accurately count the number of pills a patient is supposed to get, but automated calls to patients will also be more secure. A person might accidentally share too much information over the phone but this isn’t an issue when a robot is used to contact patients. This is just one more way the quality of care improves when pharmacy tasks are automated.
Certain tasks within a pharmacy benefit from automation. However, this is not the case with all duties handled by those who work in this field. Face-to-face contact remains important, and pharmacy workers aren’t at risk of losing their job as a result of these tasks being automated. As a result, everyone wins which is always the preferred outcome.