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Innovation works to enable patient-facing care through efficiency, inventory solutions


Between its recently announced partnership with IMA North America and its Pharmacy Operations Symposium, held in April in concert with Binghamton University’s Watson Institute for Systems Excellence (WISE) — Innovation has had a busy year. And according to EVP global business development Doyle Jensen, there are numerous new projects that are ongoing at Innovation, as the company is expanding its solutions to help increase pharmacy efficiency, accuracy and inventory management.

(To view the full Special Report, click here.)

Two of Innovation’s emerging solutions are the result of a partnership with one of the largest automation providers in Europe to bring widely utilized technology in two areas: digital shelving with robotic back-end fulfillment and an entirely new will-call experience. Jensen describes the first area as “new technology around merchandising that allows for digital shelving with back-end automated delivery of the product to the customer,” a solution that would be new to the United States. Jensen said that beyond capitalizing on its appeal to tech-savvy shoppers, the solution will be able to provide an “endless aisle” that goes beyond the brick-and-mortar store to allow for in-store purchases of items from a company’s website.

“If you have a digital representation of what you have in the store but you also have add-ons saying, ‘We have these products in the same category that can be shipped to you by tomorrow,’ you also have a point-of-sale system so you’re able to capture the sale,” Jensen said. “In the DME area, it would allow stores to have a full offering of DME, which is currently not practical when you have space constraints or don’t know what’s going to move.”

Digital shelving also would have benefits for pharmacy owners, who could potentially use demand-based pricing for popular items — say allergy relief in the spring — and CPG companies looking to test the impact of new packaging with reduced expense, as the package would be represented digitally. The technology also would enable pharmacy owners “to manage merchandising at a level that never was economically viable because it all had to be done physically, and it enables them in a retail format to have some of the advantages that an online format has.”

In addition to the digital shelving, Innovation also is currently collaborating with industry leaders in some of the largest chains in the United States to bring a will-call solution to market that would allow for access to prescriptions via kiosk and drive-through, while also making it available behind the counter and reducing will-call’s physical footprint.

“It creates a very efficient method to store scripts for pickup,” Jensen said. “It minimizes the space it takes to store them, and it’s a very efficient process to find the prescription. ... [And] it distributes the script to those points when it’s requested.”

The prescriptions are stored centrally in the device, and Jensen said it has the potential to “increase access, reduce waiting times and add a level of security and control while improving efficiency behind the counter in the pharmacy, as well.”

And to further increase efficiency beyond the counter, Innovation is currently working on a new light-directed technology to improve production in retail pharmacies and high volume, central fill or mail-order pharmacies. The product line, called Light-Way, works to help pharmacy staff quickly identify where inventory or completed orders should be placed or retrieved during production.

“We believe it will improve the efficiency of the production process itself,” he said. “It will greatly reduce the time required for inventory put-away and for inventory picking for script production, and it will guide users for the correct placement and picking of inventory and completed prescriptions to make sure errors aren’t made.”

The potential workflow impacts of Innovation’s plans, like its solutions, Jensen said, “are centered around providing the technology that drives patient convenience and enables patient-facing care.”


HQ: Johnson City, N.Y.

Founded: 1974

CEO: Mary Reno

Specialty: Automation

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