Tech-Savvy Pharmacies Using Automated Pharmacy Dispensing Are Ahead of the Curve

Category: Pharmacy Advances Written by Dr. Charles Shively / November 6, 2014

Many Information-Based Technologies Can Effect Patient Engagement and Adherence

Located on the main floor of the full service Redfern Health Center Clinic is the Redfern Pharmacy. With an automated dispensing system, this pharmacy fills approximately 40 prescriptions per hour for a unique students...attending Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.

These college students, most aged 18-25, are not the typical patient/customer many community pharmacies serve. They have grown up with computers, smartphones and computer tablets. How have these tech advancements changed pharmacy operations and workflow?

How To Meet the Needs of Tech-Savvy Customers

Automated pharmacy dispensing is just one of the technologies in place at Redfern Pharmacy. "Students learned early that they can order their medications and refills using their smartphones and "talk" directly to "Rexxie", our RxMedic ADS at any time day or night to initiate filling of their prescriptions". June Hay, PIC, at the Redfern Pharmacy was responsible for implementing the use of automated dispensing in 2012. "When we had the opportunity to move to a larger space (now 450 sq. ft.) in the Health Center Clinic, Rexxie was the "space-saver" we needed to allow other work areas for more efficient pharmacy workflow. Rexxie selects the correct medication, accurately counts, places the medication into the vial, places the patient-specific label on the vial and caps the vial. We rarely manually count by "fives" or pour dosage forms into counters as many pharmacists still do."

Mobile Apps and Texting Help Engage Patients

Unlike many traditional community pharmacies, this pharmacy provides its college age patients the opportunity to use mobile applications to access their medication refill needs and access their Clemson eHealth account for clinic services, account balance, prescription refill needs... with texting for awareness when their prescriptions are ready for pickup. A next stage being considered by many pharmacies, like Redfern, allows for eMobility followup on progress for treatment of patient infections...a typical college student issue...and medication adherence . June offered another interesting time-saving element delivered by the Redfern Pharmacy technology: "With this age group and their smartphone or tablet use... often for up to 6 hours a day...we no longer regularly call the students to alert them regarding their prescription refill status. It is done automatically by our QS/1 pharmacy management software when Rexxie receives our pharmacist approval through on-screen photo verification of vial contents with the correct drug inventory medication image...and of course with no miscounts or medication misfills. The old ways of "calling-out" to the student or answering their incoming calls to determine readiness are passé."

Technology Solves Unique Insurance Adjudication Problems (and Saves Time!)

June offered another interesting component to their current technology-based workflow: "As many of the students are now just entering the healthcare system, we have the ability to teach how the healthcare system is involved and can be used to improve their individual health. Students can either use the university health plan or their parent's insurance (available until age 26 through recent Affordable Health Care Act changes). As can often occur when the student is on the parent's healthcare plan, the students do not have an insurance card or the name of their parent's healthcare plan. The pharmacy software management system we use has a feature called "Eligibility Check" which allows our staff to search by name and Zipcode address for the healthcare plan we can use to complete prescription ajudication and co-pay definition. As most pharmacists might enjoy, we have the opportunity to teach many of these young pharmacy healthcare users that State Farm or Geico auto insurance cards do not offer health care insurance adjudication opportunities."

The Pharmacy Professionals at Redfern Pharmacy

June Hay and Allison Collie (pharmacists) along with pharmacy techs Cory, Lorrie, Derrick and Alexis are an outstanding example of today's emerging patient care oriented providers-in a unique pharmacy environ. Their knowledge from prior experience regarding important differences between available automated dispensing systems and pharmacy management software systems has allowed "Rexxie" and their pharmacy management software to be thought of as another human resource...although a robot. Inclusion of mobile applications allowing students to access important elements of their healthcare, as one student offered to this writer, is like "being involved with my health from my couch at midnight". Redfern Pharmacy is ahead of the pharmacy technology curve.

Redfern Pharmacy, 735 McMillan, Clemson, SC. Telephone: 864.656.3562
Student Web Portal:

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