5 Reasons to Have Robots (Yes, Robots) Fill Scripts

5 Reasons to Have Robots (Yes, Robots) Fill Scripts by Elements magazine | pbahealth.com

Prescriptions are the basis of your pharmacy’s bottom line. In 2014, 92 percent of profit in independent community pharmacies came from prescription drugs, according to the 2015 edition of the NCPA Digest, an annual publication from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) that profiles the $81.4 billion independent community pharmacy market.

Filling these scripts likely dominates the majority of your employees’ time. But, to grow your business, expand revenue streams and boost your bottom line, your pharmacy’s employees need to do more than simply fill scripts.

Instead of keeping your employees behind the counter to count pills, consider adopting pharmacy automation. A robot can take over dispensing duties, so you can free up your employees to provide clinical services.

Here are five reasons why a robot should be filling prescriptions, while your employees take on higher-level tasks.

1. Better accuracy

As you know, human error does occur. Difficulty reading a physician’s handwriting, filling a similar-sounding prescription or giving a patient too few pills can have disastrous results for your patients’ health and your business.

You can virtually eliminate errors when a robot dispenses prescriptions. Robots handle everything from selecting the bottle to placing the label, all with minimal assistance from your staff. This process leaves little room for human error, which can improve confidence in the accuracy of every prescription you dispense.

2. Improve efficiency

Robots can speed up your pharmacy’s entire workflow by drastically cutting the time it requires to fill a prescription.

For example, there is a significant difference in the time it takes an employee and the time it takes a robot to fill three prescriptions, such as Prilosec®, Lipitor® and an inhaler. It takes an employee approximately 6:30 to fill those three prescriptions, but a robot will cut the total fill time down to 1:30.

And, an employee doesn’t have to monitor the robot. The robot automatically completes the entire process, which means your employees can have even more time to counsel and provide profitable services to patients.

3. Invest in your future

Transitioning prescription dispensing to a robot is an investment in your pharmacy’s future.

For example, you won’t have to hire another employee if the number of scripts you fill grows because the robot can handle the additional workload.

Plus, it allows you more time to invest in your patients. This free time will be more important as you offer more patient care services, such as immunizations, medication management and smoking cessation programs. These programs are a growing opportunity for pharmacies today, but also time-consuming endeavors, and the robot will give you the time you need to expand into these markets in the future.

4. See a return on investment

When you need help filling more prescriptions, you’re faced with a choice: Devote another employee to dispensing or adopt automation.

Using the robot can yield a better return on your investment in the long run. Robots don’t take breaks, they don’t call in sick, and, in the long run, they might end up costing your pharmacy less than hiring a new employee.

Plus, the robot will relieve the burden of filling scripts for your other employees, giving them more time to recommend products to patients or provide patient care services.

5. Transition to higher-level tasks

Despite all of their advantages, robots can’t handle everything that needs to be done at your pharmacy.

While you have a robot filling scripts, you can reallocate your employees to higher-level tasks that can move your business forward.

For example, employees can spend their time on profitable and productive duties that can expand your revenue streams, such as counseling and interacting with patients, or working as a front-end manager.

Use this list of pros and cons to determine if adding the latest technology is right for your pharmacy.

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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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