Innovative new VMAR product to be showcased at this year’s Pharmacy Show

10th Oct 2019

This year’s Pharmacy Show (6th-7th October) will see the unveiling of a new product from healthcare automation and medication adherence experts Omnicell UK.  vMAR is the advanced software integration of two existing Omnicell products – eMAR and VBM. It will deliver efficiencies for both care homes and pharmacy while reducing the risk of error.

This ground-breaking development fully automates the medication dispensing and administration process. It allows for a complete audit trail and closes the loop around medication management which is notoriously prone to human error. vMAR will allow for complete traceability from the moment a pill is dispensed to the moment it is administered to a care home resident.  

This is the first time the two systems have been connected and paves the way for end to end automation. The development comes in the wake of a report commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care last year which disclosed that in England 237 million mistakes occur every year at some point in the medication process. These errors cause serious issues for patient safety, but also place a significant cost burden on an already stretched NHS1.  Worryingly the same report found a staggering 92% of medication errors within care homes occur during administration.  

How the VMAR system works

  • The pharmacy’s Patient Medication Record receives the prescription information and interacts with and informs the VBM.
  • The pharmacy can then dispense, pack and label multi-med adherence cards for the care home using the VBM, which can pack up to 40 cards per hour.
  • Multi-med adherence cards are then delivered to the care home which are checked in using the dispense information from the VBM. This then interfaces with and updates the Omnicell eMAR system at the care home. This is done by scanning a barcode on each multi-med pack.
  • Medication administration in the care home can then be carried out using Omnicell eMAR.
  • Each individual blister carries a unique barcode and this is scanned to make sure the right patient is being administered the correct medication at the correct time.
  • The cards printed off from the VBM display coloured stickers which clearly represent pill type, dosage and administration times.
  • Once medication has been administered, this information is stored in the eMAR system.

A key benefit of vMAR for care homes is the amount of time saved on manual tasks – freeing up staff time for patient care.  vMAR ensures a faster medication check-in procedure for the care home. Rather than receiving medication in original packs – all of which need to be recorded and checked in – homes just needs to do a single scan of each multi-dose medication card against patient profiles in eMAR using a unique 2D data matrix.  Furthermore, the single scan of day-specific unique barcodes on the blister packs makes the administration process more efficient. It also provides complete traceability for CQC inspections.

For pharmacies, vMAR provides an opportunity to expand their service to more care homes. Automating the filling process for multi-med adherence cards allows pharmacy to save time and produce more cards. This time saving can also free up staff for face to face patient care and allow pharmacy to look into providing additional services.  

Paul O’Hanlon, Managing Director of Omnicell UK & Ireland, adds; “Technology plays a pivotal role in reducing medication errors and improving patient safety standards. Here at Omnicell we are committed to the ongoing development of our solutions to ensure our customers are always at the forefront of patient safety and supporting healthcare settings to deliver efficiencies. Our in-depth understanding of the pharmacy and care home market allows us to continually push the boundaries in technological advancement and innovation.”

VMAR is currently being trialled in a pilot programme with the Pearl Chemist Group and Southpark Residential Homes and will be demonstrated on the Omnicell stand (PC10) at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham this October.

Mayank Patel, Director and Superintendent Pharmacist of Pearl Chemist Group says, “Community pharmacy is under tremendous pressure to deliver a safe and effective service to patients in the face of funding cuts. Last year, it was estimated that more than 7,218 prescriptions were dispensed per community pharmacy, which have become ever-more complex as the UK population ages. However, our staff no longer have to spend hours filling and checking medication adherence packs. This means they are free to spend more time delivering face-to-face patient care. Furthermore, vMAR acts as a valuable safety net for all healthcare professionals involved in the medication administration process – from pharmacists to care givers alike.”


For more information, please contact Jo Gulliver, Niamh Donnelly or Imogen Daldy at Trinity PR on telephone: 020 7112 4905/ 0770 9487961 or email:

Notes to editors

  1. Since 1992, Omnicell (NASDAQ: OMCL) has been inspired to create safer and more efficient ways to manage medications and supplies across all care settings. As a leader in medication and supply dispensing automation, central pharmacy automation, IV robotics, analytics software, and medication adherence and packaging systems, Omnicell is focused on improving care across the entire healthcare continuum—from the acute care hospital setting, to post-acute skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, to the patient’s home.

Over 4,000 customers worldwide use Omnicell® automation and analytics solutions to increase operational efficiency, reduce medication errors, deliver actionable intelligence and improve patient safety. The recent acquisition of Aesynt adds distinct capabilities, particularly in central pharmacy and IV robotics, creating the broadest medication management product portfolio in the industry.

  • The estimated costs to the NHS of avoidable adverse drug reactions is £98.5 million per year, consuming 181,626 bed days, causing 712 deaths and contributing to 1,078 deaths.