February 01, 2021

Sebastien Villars, Omnicell International Senior Director of Product Management, reflects on how automation could be the key to resolving some of the main challenges faced by retail pharmacy today.

"Two of the biggest challenges retail pharmacy owner’s face is making their business more efficient and more profitable. However, automation is readily available to support pharmacists with this.

The right solution can help to: 

Save money: embracing technology means a better organisation of pharmacy workflows to save space, reduce storage, eliminate overstocking and out of date medications.

Save time: allowing you to dispense more prescriptions, faster and put time back into face to face patient contact. It will also help build a resource-efficient hub and spoke business.

Save errors: eliminating manual packing and helping to reduce the risk of costly human errors when loading, dispensing and packing medications.

Here are five ways automation can help you address many of the challenges pharmacy faces today:

Inventory Control

A lack of inventory control and inventory accuracy is costing pharmacies money through expired stock and a lack of bulk buying power. Automation, like Omnicell’s recently launched next generation Medimat for retail pharmacy, enables you to keep track of expiry dates and manage medication by FEFO (First Expired, First Out). Usage reports allow for stock profiling so you can order what you need when you need it. This wealth of data is helpful when supporting bulk buying, high usage medication or negotiating a call-off schedule with medication suppliers.

Patient Safety

Patient safety is being compromised through dispensing errors, too many human interactions, time constraints and multiple dispensing processes. Omnicell’s new solution reduces the risk of dispensing errors by driving down the number of human interactions involved in the pharmacy workflow.

Patients Not Logistics

Pharmacists and technicians often find themselves constantly searching for the right medication, looking through stacked shelves and overstocked cupboards. Manual processesmust be done regularly to ensure medications don’t stock out or go out of date. Stock counts and inventory management take too long – time wasted on painstakingly counting cupboards and shelves of individual tablets and medication boxes. Omnicell’s new solution makes sure you have the right medication at the right time and in the right place within your pharmacy. You will know instantly where the medication is in the robot and what quantities you have available. No more stock counting needed, providing more time for you to spend with the patients to support and upsell other services.

Grow Your Business

Pharmacies are competing on the number of prescriptions dispensed so returning patients are extremely important to them. How fast pharmacies dispense their medication isn’t necessarily going to tie them in – medication availability and patient relationships are key. Omnicell’s new solution will relieve the repetitive process of dispensing allowing staff more time to spend with patients to build relationships. It also provides the opportunity to increase revenue with the ability to handle more prescriptions than could ever be done manually.

 Use Space More Effectively

A lack of space in pharmacy means many businesses wrongly believe automation is not an option as pharmacy staff has very limited space to dispense medication as it is. The new solution from Omnicell could fit the pharmacy environment by reducing the need for multiple cupboards full of medication. In addition, only the front end of the robotic dispensing system needs to be in the dispensary – it is possible to build the machine to fit into another room at the back of the pharmacy."

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