The healthcare industry is in an era of rapid technological advancement.
Automation has become an indispensable element in various industries, including pharmacy. It’s not just about replacing manual labor with robots; it’s about creating an optimized, efficient, and error-free environment. Let’s dive into what types of pharmacy automation equipment is essential for an optimal workflow for your pharmacy.
The Main Pharmacy Automation Equipment Your Pharmacy Needs
Must-have pharmacy automation equipment for your pharmacy:
- Blister Card Packagers
- Strip Pouch Packagers
- Automated Medication Verification
- Vial Count and Fill
- Pharmacy Automation Software
Blister Card Packagers
Advantages of blister card packagers
Blister card packagers have become increasingly popular in pharmacy settings. These packagers can be tailored for both unit dose–packaging individual doses of medication–and multidose–containing several doses or different medications in one package. The multidose option is especially beneficial in environments like long-term care (LTC) pharmacies, where patients often have complex medication regimens.
By combining multiple medications intended for a specific time into one package, it simplifies administration for caregivers and ensures better patient adherence and medication safety. In settings like hospitals, and even for individual patients who require multiple medications, blister packaging helps maintain safety and compliance and ensures that medications are easy to track.
These blister card packaging robots seal pills in airtight, easy-to-use plastic packaging, ensuring a longer shelf life, easier transportation, and reducing the risk of contamination.
Strip Pouch Packagers
Advantages of strip pouch packagers
Strip pouch packagers are pharmacy automation robots that package medications into individual or multi-dose pouches. They are becoming increasingly more common in pharmacy automation as they offer advantages to both the pharmacy and care facility.
This pharmacy automation tool creates a more efficient packaging process in the pharmacy. In the care facility, it eases medication dispensing, minimizes errors, and improves patient adherence.
By individualizing doses, strip pouch packagers make it safer and easier for patients to get the right medication at the right time
Automated Medication Verification
Advantages of Automated Medication Verification
Automating medication verification in pharmacy is crucial for ensuring that patients receive the correct medication and dosage. Generally, the verification step in dispensing is labor intensive as errors could lead to serious health risks.
Automated verification systems use scanning and imaging technologies to confirm that the correct medication is being dispensed. This greatly enhances accuracy and minimizes the potential for human error, thereby increasing patient safety.
Vial Count and Fill
Advantages of precise counting and filling
While the use of adherence packaging is on the rise, vials are still in common use. Accurate counting and filling of medication vials is foundational in pharmacy operations. Any mistake in this step can have serious consequences to patient safety.
Automated vial count and fill machines are capable of precisely counting medication and filling vials at much faster rates compared to utilizing manual labor. Utilizing this kind of dispensing robot not only speeds up the process but also greatly reduces the chance for error.
Essential Accessories & Supplies for Enhancing Pharmacy Operations
Pharmacy Automation Software
Pharmacy automation software acts as the nerve center of the pharmacy automation system. It links various components like management, packaging, verification, and archiving into a cohesive unit, which is why it is important to choose a vendor that not only has exceptional build quality, but an exceptional software system to manage it all.
A comprehensive pharmacy automation software system streamlines operations, ensures data consistency, and improves overall efficiency, thereby making the pharmacy more responsive to patient needs.
Tray Loading System
Even in an automated pharmacy using blister or strip packagers, some drugs like type-2 controls or infrequently dispensed medications have to be handled differently than more common medications. A tray loading system offers a method to bring these uncommon drugs into your automation system on an as-needed basis so as not to slow down the packing process.
Designed with designated compartments for different pills, they ensure organized loading to minimize mix-ups. By preloading multiple doses onto these trays, pharmacies can enhance both efficiency and accuracy, cutting down on manual handling and the potential for errors.
Automatic winders, typically paired with strip pouch packagers, ensure the efficient winding of medication pouch strips. Once the medications are sealed into the pouches, these winders automatically roll them up for easy dispensing and storage. Their primary benefit lies in speeding up the post-packaging process, making medication retrieval quicker and more organized.
Pill splitters are essential tools when precise doses are required. They allow pharmacists to divide pills into smaller, accurate doses. Especially beneficial when specific dosages aren’t readily available or for patients needing medication adjustments, these devices ensure that individuals receive the exact dose prescribed, maintaining therapeutic efficacy.
Essential Pharmacy Automation Accessories
- Strip Pouch Boxes: Pharmacies using automation robots for strip pouch packaging often provide strip pouch boxes to provide a structured and protective storage solution. These boxes ensure that individual medication pouches remain organized, undamaged, and easily accessible for patients.
- Strip Pouch Paper: This specialty paper is essential for the actual creation of the pouches. Its design ensures that medications are sealed securely, maintaining both the potency of the medication and the convenience of individual dosing.
- Printer Ribbon: Automation robots often print essential information on medication pouches, such as drug names, dosages, and expiration dates. Printer ribbons are vital for this process, ensuring clear, legible, and durable printing on the pouches, enhancing patient safety and adherence.
Pharmacy Automation is Key for Efficient Pharmacy Operations
Knowing the must-have pharmacy automation equipment for your pharmacy is key for a seamless, efficient operation. Understanding the unique needs of your pharmacy and investing in automation accordingly is crucial for achieving a system that delivers both accuracy and efficiency. By staying updated with the latest trends and technologies, pharmacies can continue to offer unparalleled service in an increasingly competitive environment.
Download our free Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Right Pharmacy Automation Vendor, which includes a list of questions to ask when evaluating new pharmacy automation equipment.