As the pharmaceutical industry is trying to modernize its processes and adhere to strict regulatory requirements, automation has come into the spotlight. However, some pharmaceutical companies, particularly the small ones, hesitate in adopting the pharmacy automation system due to budget issues or space limitations. Even independent pharmacies need to invest in at least some automation. This upgrade has some benefits that the company can enjoy.
Pharmacy automation has strengthened the market considerably. Automation has improved pharmacy products, including tablets, medication compounding systems, medication storage and dispensing cabinets, packaging, and labeling systems. It is expected to grow over time.
There are different factors for such rapid growth, such as the need for hospitals to become more efficient in caring for more patients using fewer resources and the desire to reduce medication errors. To learn more about how you can benefit from automation, visit IntelLiDrives to learn more
The Benefits of Pharmacy Automation
The pharmacy industry has a lot to gain from implementing automation into its workflows. Even though the initial costs of automation may cause pharmacies to hesitate, the quick and long-term benefits can outweigh the downsides. Below are some of the significant benefits of automation in pharmacies:
- Automation can increase speed.
With several prescriptions to fill, and that figure only expected to increase as the world population grows, pharmacies will struggle to keep up. Manual systems won’t scale fast enough. However, automation can significantly increase each pharmacy’s productivity. Investing in pharmacy automation will be less than what it would cost to hiring new pharmacies to fill up these prescriptions manually. Especially now, in this time, when the cost of hiring and training each new hire is carefully considered, automation is a great alternative.
- Automation can increase accuracy.
No matter how hard you practice your procedural safeguards, mistakes can happen. Things can go awry even with technology. As technology evolves to include artificial intelligence, material learning, and other advancements, the risk for committing can at least be significantly reduced.
Even the tiniest human error can cause the most significant consequences. For instance, in the case of medication administration, even the smallest mistake can cause death. That’s why a lot of pharmacies are implementing different types of automation solutions like tablet packaging, dispensing cabinets, count-and-fill devices, medication dispensing systems, and medication interaction alerts to increase accuracy and safety.
Each of these automation technologies can enable pharmacists and nurses to collaborate more effectively while ensuring the right patients can receive the correct medications and dosages at the exact time. Automation in inventories can track both the pharmacy and automated dispensing cabinets, as well as providing oversight on the access which medications at what time. These automated systems provide visibility; thus, making it less likely for a patient to receive the wrong medication or dose inadvertently.
Increased accuracy also means less waste and lower costs for the hospital. Moreover, when health professionals have secure access to the pharmacy inventory available, they don’t have to waste their time waiting for medication to be delivered from the pharmacy. Both the pharmacy and nursing departments can become more efficient with their time because automation ensures greater accuracy and secure nearby medication availability from the start.
- Automation can provide greater security and confidentiality.
Automation in pharmacies also provides greater control over their inventories and access. For example, when hospitals use automated systems, they do not have to rely on manual data entry and paper trails. Instead, the automated system can provide a real-time, accurate log of every medicated that is accessed per staff member, including the date and the time. This capability can significantly reduce drug diversion, waste, and the risk for patients to receive the wrong dosage or medication.
In an automated system, before any medication can be accessed, the nurse needs to log into the system first and provide his or her credentials. When approved, that is the only time they can obtain the medications. Moreover, automation enables the pharmacy to perform, document efficiently, and communicate a timely verification of orders before allowing the nurse to dispense the prescribed medicine. It will not only give the pharmacist greater control over the medications, but they are also allowed to reiterate specific dispensing instructions to the nurse.
Automation in pharmacy can also benefit patient confidentiality, like automated calling programs. Before, a pharmacy technician would only leave the information on a patient’s voicemail. Nowadays, through the use of an automated system, the pharmacy can establish greater consistency and control over what is said. It can protect the hospital from data privacy violations as they are required to maintain patient privacy.