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6 Key Blister Pack Features for Automated Pharmacies and Long-Term Care


In today’s healthcare landscape, central fill pharmacies are implementing automation to streamline preparation of single-dose blister packs before providing them to long-term care facilities. This strategic shift allows pharmacy teams to allocate more time to high-priority tasks and minimize repetitive dispensing tasks. Automation also bolsters dispensing accuracy.

The efficiencies gained through automated filling quickly disappear if teams spend too much time sealing blister packs, however. It’s important to choose packs specifically designed for automation – otherwise, pharmacies could see bottlenecks in their workflow. 

It’s also important to consider how to make blister packs easy to use for healthcare professionals who dispense medications to residents in a long-term care setting.

That’s why the team at Jones Healthcare Group worked closely with automation manufacturers, centralized fulfillment centers, pharmacy chains and long-term care facilities to analyze every step of the blister pack sealing and dispensing process when designing its flagship single-dose pack, the FlexRx™ One.

“Wherever and whenever we can, we are at central fill locations understanding their workflow. Through our collaboration with these pharmacies, we found ways to reduce time and motion to seal packaging while ensuring the process is easy and repeatable, reducing sealing time by 50%,” says Sead Ferhatovic, Director, Market Strategy & Business Development at Jones Healthcare. “We have also spent time working with healthcare professionals in long-term care facilities to understand their pain points using single-dose packaging to dispense medications to residents, and how we can make this process more seamless and time saving.” 

Ferhatovic notes there are six key features of the FlexRx One that improve sealing speed, repeatability and usability:

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1. Two-sided printable label - The FlexRx One includes two pieces – a blister and a label. Pharmacies can print directly on both sides of this label in all laser printers. This means there is no need to print and apply additional labels to the pack like other single-dose solutions, saving time. Both sides of the label provide more space for branding and patient information, with easy-to-follow calendar numbers on each medication compartment that cue reordering for enhanced usability. The label is also colored inside the blister cavity to improve medication visibility. 

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2. Locating bevels - The FlexRx One’s blister has specially designed side and bottom alignment ribs or bevels. These bevels make it quick and easy to align the pack’s label component against the blister component––both horizontally and vertically–– when sealing. The bevels not only speed up the sealing process, but also guarantee repeatability.

3. Patented tear-away strip
The FlexRx One label includes a unique tear-away adhesive strip that helps pharmacies seal the packs correctly the first time. With live adhesive in just a small strip area, the label can be secured in the correct position first, before removing the full adhesive backing to seal the pack. 

4. Compatibility with existing automation technologies
The FlexRx One is backward-compatible with existing 31-day single-dose blister pack automation trays, making the transition to this single-dose solution easy. Rounded blister cavities reduce the risk of medications jumping out during the automated filling process and are available in multiple depths to accommodate various medication sizes. 

5. HIPPA compliance – The FlexRx One is designed with an emphasis on quick and easy removal of Protected Health Information to ensure compliance with healthcare regulations, safeguarding patient privacy.

6. Secure medication transport – The pack stays sealed, preventing spills during transportation and use while also eliminating the mess of medications spilling into carts during administration.

Beyond its list of automation and usability design features, the FlexRx One stands out as a more sustainable single-dose solution – the first and only to use Bio-PET, a recyclable bio-based plastic made from a by-product of the sugar manufacturing process. 

“We’re focused on pharmacy and LTC end user-led design for a fresh approach to blister pack development,” adds Ferhatovic. “The FlexRx One provides automated pharmacies and central fills that support long-term care a better unit-dose product – one that centers on pharmacy automation, usability and sustainability.”

Visit adherence.joneshealthcaregroup.com for more information on blister packs from Jones Healthcare Group.