Machine Automation Pharma
Pharmacy automation involves the mechanical processes of handling and distributing medications. Any pharmacy task may be involved, including counting small objects (e.g., tablets, capsules); measuring and mixing powders and liquids for compounding; tracking and updating customer information in databases (e.g., personally identifiable information (PII), medical history, drug interaction risk detection) and inventory management.
Pharmacy automation involves the automation of common tasks and processes performed in a pharmacy or other healthcare settings1. For example, the dispensing of medications has traditionally been a time consuming and tedious task performed by pharmacists for several decades.
As a result, some level of pharmacy automation has been utilized since the 1970s, of which involved counting technologies that were used to replace manual counting in an effort to reduce workload and increase efficiency1. In the 1980s and 1990s, the next generation of high-speed machines for counting and bottling were developed, which proved to be easy to use, compact and cost-effective.
As the technology behind automated systems has continued to advance over the past several years, including developments in software, artificial intelligence and machine learning, a variety of solutions for pharmaceutical purposes have been developed.
Advantages of Pharmacy Automation
Today, the incorporation of automated services within pharmacies around the world has significantly improved the efficacy and security of storing, administering, filling, packaging and labeling prescription medications1. Due to the clear benefits offered by pharmacy automation, even traditional pharmacies have started to make the switch.
Machines outperform the most careful and experienced pharmacists or technicians in terms of speed and accuracy. Pharmacy automation has significantly increased the productivity of the pharmacies by increasing the number of prescriptions filled, which is far greater than that which is accomplished by manual processes.
Pharmacy automation eliminates potential medication waste that can occur during the filling and labelling of prescriptions.
Minimized Labor Costs
It is estimated that the average pharmacist or pharmacist technician walks about 8 miles each day in a pharmacy performing various tasks, including filling, packing, labeling and dispensing medications. By automating these processes, companies can reduce labor costs associated with higher staff requirements while also reducing stress in the work environment.
Improved Patient Counseling
As mentioned above, pharmacy automation has been associated with significantly reducing the amount of physical workload on pharmacy staff. As a result, pharmacists are provided with more time that can be used to counsel patients on medication instructions and answer any questions, thereby ultimately improving patient care.