Pharmacy Automation for Pharmacy Technicians

Published: 21st May 2010
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The pharmacy industry is quickly becoming automated for certain tasks, which makes life so much easier for pharmacy professionals. It also cuts down on human error, and saves time because it's so much faster. Besides the timesaving element, it also saves money because, again, human error is nearly eliminated, meaning that prescriptions are always filled correctly, and there is no cross-contamination between drugs.

For existing pharmacies, it's very easy to integrate this equipment. It'll fit into the existing set up with no trouble, and will keep track of prescriptions and make sure that every customer who comes in to fill a prescription gets exactly what he or she needs. The automation system handles these prescriptions, which means that the pharmacist can spend more time doing other necessary tasks. Automation systems mean that prescriptions are always filled correctly, with the right dosage and drug, and the correct labeling as well. Human error is eliminated, because automation systems take care of this seamlessly. Automation systems also give the pharmacist more time to spend with customers and provide assistance as needed, which is why most pharmacists undertake his career to begin with.

These types of devices also are timesavers for customers. No longer do they have to come in and wait for the pharmacist to fill the prescription out and measure everything by hand. Because the automation system does this automatically, they wait for much less time to get what they need. It also saves money for the pharmacy, because a pharmacy doesn't need as many employees with the automation system. If a pharmacy fills at least 150 prescriptions on a daily basis, an automation system will save a pharmacy money.

Automation systems take care of one other error, too, which is that the drug description is used properly on the label. Customers need this information in order to properly take their medication, especially if they haven't researched it and they're depending on medical personnel and the pharmacist to tell them what to do. Although doctors do indeed provide patients with these instructions, they still need to be written on the label because patients may not remember this information. If the information is written on the label, patients are much more likely to take drugs as they should be taken. A pharmacy automation system does this task automatically.

Another problem with leaving prescription fillings to human hands is that cross-contamination can occur if surfaces are not sterilized. That is, if one drug (in pill form) is counted out on a surface and placed in its bottle, but then that surface is not sterilized before the next prescription is filled, the second prescription can be contaminated with trace leavings from the first prescription. This isn't healthy for the customer, because there may be drug interactions between the two drugs, or the patient may be allergic to the drug their prescription was contaminated with. Of course, no pharmacy wants to be responsible for these things, and pharmacy automation can take care of this problem so that it's a nonentity. It also keeps track of a patient's history so that the right medication is always given; further, it allows for a sterile environment so that prescriptions can be filled without fear of cross-contamination. It also eliminates the mistakes people can make as they fill prescriptions, and just is generally much safer.

Pharmacy automation technology is becoming more and more popular, so much so that many top-notch pharmacists don't want to work without it these days. In fact, using this technology can mean a top pharmacist will take a particular job, when otherwise he or she would not. Of course, pharmacy automation technology also makes a pharmacist's job much less stressful, another good reason to get it if it's not something you already have. Pharmacists also know that this technology can protect patients from pharmaceutical dangers, and therefore may refuse to work without it. Because tasks are automated for them, they have more time to spend with customers; this can mean employees will be happier with jobs and less stressed out by them, leading to greater employee retention.

Pharmacy automation systems work with real-time technology, which means that customers don't have to wait for their prescriptions for very long. Once a prescription is placed into the automation system, it's completed. The system also keeps track of inventory and alerts pharmacists when certain drugs are running low and need to be reordered. That saves money for the business in question, too, because no longer do you have to hire someone to keep track of inventory for you. The pharmacy automation system does this for you. Because it doesn't get "bored" with relatively tedious tasks, it removes those from human employees' job descriptions, and does them instead. And finally, because it's free of human error, it gives pharmacists peace of mind.

Once a pharmacy automation system is purchased, you'll receive training as to how to use it, which will take about three to four days. You'll pay a flat monthly rate for support, but this is money you can't afford NOT to spend. You'll also get customer support, in case there are any problems.. This technology is going to be around for a long time, being that its state-of-the-art and not about to become obsolete. If you find your pharmaceutical jobs stressful, and you're overwhelmed, look into getting this most valuable pharmacy technology. You will invest something into it initially, to be sure, but it will save you significant money and time -- and stress -- over the long run. Therefore, it's well worth the cost you'll pay up front.

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