RxMedic solutions work to increase will-call efficiency, provide flexible automation

9/7/2016

As prescription volume increases, one of the hottest areas of pharmacy technology in recent years has been solutions for the will-call process, and RxMedic is looking to stay on the forefront of will-call solutions with its Automated Retrieval System, or ARS. The company also is working to provide dispensing and storage solutions that can adapt to reduce downtime for calibration and maintenance.


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RxMedic’s ARS will-call system is built around improving the patient checkout function for pharmacy team members by identifying the bag or bags containing their current patient’s prescriptions by using a unique combination of identification lights on the ARS’ electronically activated hanging bags. Each has a unique barcode that is associated with the barcode of the prescription that a technician places in the bag. This makes storage easier than with will-call systems that rely on bins sorted by patient last name, according to RxMedic VP David Williams.



“The primary advantage is you don’t have to be concerned about alphabetizing or indexing prescriptions in any particular order,” Williams told Drug Store News. “When the patient comes in, all you do is do a name query on your pharmacy management system. ... [You] tell the system that you’re going to checkout the patient’s prescriptions, and the bag with their prescription will light up.”



When a patient’s bag lights up, it displays a light or combination of lights that is unique to the technician retrieving it, a feature aimed at reducing dispensing errors. Even if a patient has multiple prescriptions that are ordered throughout the week, the various bags will light up, and pharmacies can set up the ARS so that a linked family member’s prescriptions also will light up when a patient picks up their own medication.



“It’s a very slick system,” Williams said. “It works very well, and another important feature that pharmacists will tell you about is that it greatly reduces dispensing errors, because with a manual will-call system, the opportunity always exists for a patient to get the wrong prescription. This system significantly reduces that risk.”



Manual will-call systems also bring with them the need to sort by hand and return to stock the medications that haven’t been picked up. Williams said that with the ARS, a technician can set up a parameter in their pharmacy management system for the ARS to identify all bags that have been there beyond a specific date, assigning that function a unique color.



“Think about 600 or 700 bags sitting there on a regular basis,” Williams said. “Somebody has to go through and physically handle each and every bag to decide whether or not it needs to be returned to stock, so consider the labor and time saved by using this particular feature.”



In addition to the ARS, RxMedic ‘s latest offering in pharmacy automation, the RM200, is a fully automated system filling up to two prescriptions a minute. With industry-leading auto calibrating cell technology, RM200 brings speed and accuracy, while automating up to 65% of pharmacies most common oral solids. The RM200 also is able to switch between different types of vials in a way that’s faster and less expensive than other systems, Williams said. As it is not built around a specific vial like many other automation systems, changing vial manufacturers or types is relatively simple, as well as inexpensive. In most cases, for less than $2,000 a pharmacy can switch the RM200’s vial compatibility by changing out a part.



RxMedic also offers remote video support for all of its accounts using a robot, allowing for quick response to issues that, in some instances, can take robots offline for an inconvenient amount of time.



“It cuts tremendous time off the wait time to get the robot back up running and operational,” Williams said. “If you spent over $100,000 for the robot, the last thing you want is for it to be down any longer than is absolutely necessary.”



RXMEDIC


HQ: Wake Forest, N.C.


Founded: 2006


CEO: William R. Cobb


Specialty: Automation


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