Hospitals and pharmacists have adopted new technologies to modernize their processes and adhere to stringent regulatory requirements.
The 1970s saw the use of electronic tablet counters that used optical light beam technology to process bulk orders and such devices became commonplace in the 1980s. In the same time period, the introduction of computer technology played a major role in significantly improving stock control and labeling on pharmacies.
So it comes as no surprise that modern pharmacies like PlusVirtual, have adopted pharmacy robots to streamline dispensing operations, improve data workflows, and reporting. These new innovations allow PlusVirtual to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving industry. More importantly, robotic pharmacies improve patient outcomes in a variety of ways.
Let’s discuss the major advantages of robotic pharmacies for patients.
Increasing Efficiency and Patient Safety
Before the advent of robotic pharmacies, pharmacists would will prescriptions by hand. This took time away from customer service and more towards redundant clinical duties. The repetitive nature of the task jeopardized patient safety. While most pharmacy staff are safety conscious and attentive, drug dispensing errors continue to be an ongoing problem.
The use of robotic dispensing machines protected patients by eliminating the risk of human error. Moreover, these systems were capable of meeting the demands of high daily prescription volumes, which benefited pharmacies greatly.
Robotic pharmacies can be programmed to adhere to regulatory and safety standards to ensure the right medicine reaches the right patient and at their correct dosages every single time.
By using advanced workflow systems, barcodes, and analytics, pharmacies can maintain more control over the whole process seamlessly from order entry to point of sale. This allows technicians to monitor safety standards for all prescriptions.
It is worth pointing out that the systems should be properly configured to minimize the threat of contamination that can result from airborne pharmaceutical dust, which is a common problem with most machines. Doing so also benefits pharmacy workers and customers to keep the air healthy.
Frees Up Time and Improves Collaborative Work
Thanks to the use of robotic pharmacies, pharmacists now have more time to allocate towards caregiving tasks. As such, they are an increasingly important part of the healthcare force than ever before. Since they no longer have to perform redundant activities, they can perform both clinical and preventive care services, while also overseeing dispensing machines.
A larger cross-section of physicians are beginning to rely on pharmacists to play a more involved role in improving patient outcomes.
Automating the pharmaceutical process has become a critical component in the effort to meet the growing challenges. As robotic dispensing systems begin to revolutionize the way pharmacists work, it is possible for physicians to collaborate with pharmacists. This has positive benefits for all stakeholders involved in healthcare, from the patient to each member of the caregiving team.
The implementation of robotic systems allows pharmacists to perform high-level clinical duties, including developing better relationships with patients.
Improved Patient Outcomes
It’s simply not easy to keep patients safe. On any given day, pharmacists can be found filling a large number of prescriptions. All of this must be done while adhering to federal relations.
It’s hard to stay on top of these responsibilities while ensuring patient safety. Automated pharmacies have allowed retailers to respond with a sense of urgency – especially during the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.
Healthcare systems and pharmacies are being called on to provide critical services to their communities as the pandemic rages on. This is where PlusVirtual’s robotic dispensing systems come in. They utilize numerous tech features, such as barcode scanning to ensure safety and accuracy.
PlusVirtual’s pharmacy management systems can inform patients by sending them text messages that explain procedures for utilizing pharmacy services. Additionally, the mobile application supports delivery and point of sale functions. Finally, the pharmacy management platform can launch clinical programs that improve patient management.
Moreover, the reporting capabilities of machines allow pharmacy staff to regularly track and monitor the use of prescription pills. The use of these pills can be reported back to technicians. Automated pharmacies facilitate timely administration of medicines by improving accessibility on patient care units.
This benefit is particularly important in intensive care units and emergency departments. There is increasing recognition of the complexity of medicinal use in both of these areas and the high demand potential for serious medication errors. Physicians now have the ability to provide convenient access to medications for emergency situations during and after pharmacy hours.
Improved Security and Confidentiality
Pharmacy automation gives staff more control and access to their inventory. For example, they no longer have to rely on paper trails and data entry. Instead, they can maintain real-time and accurate logs of every drug that is dispatched. This capability reduces drug wastage and the risk for patients in getting the wrong medication or dosages
Pharmacy automation also improves patient confidentiality. In the past, pharmacists had to leave the information on a patient’s voicemail. Technicians had the discretion in determining how detailed they would have to be over the voicemail. An automated system allows pharmacies to maintain more control over what is being said, ensuring they don’t violate HIPAA regulations and maintaining patient privacy.
The Bottom Line
By implementing robotic processes, pharmacies can increase accuracy, security, and speed. All of these can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. In 2021 and beyond, where access to the medication has become increasingly important, automated solutions are no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
Patient medication requirements and admissions will continue to increase in the coming years, which means that more pharmacies will have to transition away from manual and error-prone tools. There is too much at stake for errors.
With that said, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution for patients and physicians. All stakeholders will have to work with their pharmacists and staff to figure out what systems are most beneficial for them and invest in appropriate solutions to create an automated system. Investing in more robotic pharmacies will create a safer future for everyone.