Pharmacy Automation Consultancy
Pharmacy Consulting Ltd (PCL) offers independent advice to pharmacists considering automating their pharmacies.
As pharmacies become busier with dispensing prescriptions, and at the same time seek additional revenue streams, it makes sense to consider the speed, space and accuracy benefits of some degree of Pharmacy Automation. In any pharmacy handling many similar prescriptions, a simple, channel based machine could considerably speed up the dispensing process for around the Top 100 lines. Such a machine could take up just a square metre or two of floor space and not prove expensive.
In a busy pharmacy, perhaps dispensing over 10,000 items per month, the economics of automating the majority of the lines stocked makes sense. In this situation pharmacy automation can not only speed up the dispensing process, but also cut down on dispensing errors, and even allow the total space taken up for product storage to be reduced, perhaps allowing more room for creating additional consultation facilities and/or additional retail space.
It makes particular good sense to consider automation when refitting the pharmacy or when relocating the pharmacy, so that the pharmacy can be designed from the beginning with automation at its core.
Pharmacy Consulting Ltd (PCL) has wide experience of independently advising pharmacists on pharmacy automation, both in community pharmacies and in hospitals, and in England, Scotland, Wales and in Holland. PCL works with customers, their chosen automation supplier and their chosen shop fitter ideally right from the initial design stage, when PCL can advise customers on ensuring that the pharmacy design and layout will work logically with the dispensing processes. After the automation equipment is installed, PCL advises customers how best to use the automation machines and how to redesign their working processes in order to achieve optimum efficiency and effectiveness in their dispensaries from the automation investment.
PCL has worked with all the main suppliers of pharmacy automation equipment in the UK.
Project value: £2-3000
The clients challenge
The client’s pharmacy was very busy indeed with prescriptions being situated right next door to a large GP practice with no nearby pharmacies. As that GP practice had applied for a pharmacy contract itself, the client was naturally anxious to improve the image of and service provided from their pharmacy before the GPs opened their pharmacy. The client was using a software system that did not have a well developed software interface with the chosen automation supplier’s robot.
Pharmacy Consulting’s solution
Pharmacy Consulting visited the pharmacy in Northamptonshire and observed how the staff and pharmacists worked prior to automation. Advice was reluctantly given to promptly change the existing pharmacy software to software that did have a well developed interface with the chosen automation provider so that staff could adapt well to the new dispensing software before the automation installation .
The proposed plans of the automated dispensary were reviewed. Pharmacy Consulting advised the client on how to improve the ultimate design, as well as advising on the need for a second and interim pharmacy design, that would be suitable to work in temporarily during the 2/3 weeks robot installation & training process. Pharmacy Consulting revisited the pharmacy about 3 months after automation, and made quite a number of recommendations which were all implemented on how to change or improve the working processes, in order to gain the maximum benefit from their automation investment.
The customer benefits
The client felt more confident that they would cope with their high workload during the 2/3 week robot installation process, because they had a temporary dispensary built specifically for that purpose. The new pharmacy software recommend by Pharmacy Consulting worked well with the chosen automation system, and the staff adapted to it before the automation project proper commenced.
After automating, it was clear that the pre-existing working processes had not been changed enough for the client and their staff to gain the maximum benefit from their automation investment. Pharmacy Consulting made several recommendations, which were implemented with staff agreement, which lead to the working processes being significantly streamlined and therefore speeded up without compromise to accuracy. This lead to a notable improvement in customer service and to an improvement in prescription turnaround times, whilst at the same time keeping the staff team happy.
Project Value: £1000+
The clients challenge:
Having independently commissioned plans from one particular automation supplier and one pharmacy shop-fitter , and having had no prior experience of automation, the client decided at the last minute that as the automation investment was so significant, it was well worth getting an independent opinion before signing off the automation order.
Pharmacy Consulting’s solution
Prior to visiting the client in Yorkshire, Pharmacy Consulting reviewed the proposed plans of the automated dispensary and the draft automation contract. Then, in a pre-planned one day visit to the Pharmacy, Pharmacy Consulting advised the client on how to improve the pharmacy design and advised them on several aspects of the automation contract that could be improved for their benefit
The customer benefits
The client felt more confident after receiving the independent advice from Pharmacy Consulting that what they were buying would really allow them to achieve their objectives. They saved money by accepting a suggestion that they could re-use some of the existing pharmacy drawers and saved further money as a result of several aspects of advice given by Pharmacy Consulting upon the draft automation contract itself, which they would otherwise have signed unaltered.
I found Pharmacy Consulting Ltd’s (PCL) input into the planning and installation of our ARX V Max extremely beneficial to the project.
The senior consultant from PCL met with me, the ARX project manager, and members of my shop fitting team, and we discussed the new pharmacy planned layout from PCL’s automation experience. This was useful as having previously worked with robots, and also being a pharmacist he could provide valuable advice on where the machine outputs would be best positioned for the best workflow. He returned to the pharmacy when we were up and running and observed the processes that we had developed and spoke to all the staff and got a good feel of how we were working. Having read his subsequent report, all his ideas seemed to make sense and I shared his report with all of my staff and we successfully implemented the suggested changes.