Automated Retrieval System Prevents Patient Medication Delivery Errors

Category: Pharmacy Success Written by Dr. Charles Shively / January 16, 2017

Seamless Integration into Existing Workflow Software

“The RxMedic Automated Retrieval System (ARS) (www.RxMedic.com) and our RX30 pharmacy management operating system (www.RX30.com) work together seamlessly. The prescription filling and point of sale delivery for our customers, due to the integration of the ARS within our RX30 workflow, creates a comfort for our pharmacists and technicians. We avoid patient delivery errors.” These comments from Eric Russo, one of the two pharmacists in charge at Hobbs Pharmacy in Merritt Island, Florida (Mark Hobbs is the other PIC), were captured during the last stop of the 2016 Healthcare Advocate Tour (www.AskDrS.org). Recall the phrase “Save the best for last”? 

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Multiple Technologies Support Patient Compliance

The Hobbs Pharmacy, with its multiple technologies supporting traditional retail medication dispensing, long term care medication processing and sterile/non-sterile prescription compounding is a leader in providing patient centered and compliant care in the Cape Canaveral area of the Florida Gold Coast. Hobbs Pharmacy fills on average 600 prescriptions a day within its three different areas of focus. Four pharmacists and as many as ten technicians complete the prescription filling ( three distinct service areas) and patient medication delivery activities. Free delivery to many of the patient/customers is also completed by three delivery vehicles and drivers daily. With a dedication to patient synchronization and compliance, one technician is dedicated full time to ensuring accurate medication use for all Hobbs customers including free sequenced medication “trays” (to any patient customer) with meds arranged by daily dosage time that has often been reserved primarily for long term care facilities.

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RXMedic ARS Provides Efficiency at Point of Sale

Eric Russo pointed out that the 200 bag integrated RxMedic ARS (an electronic will call system) has created an efficiency for medication delivery that eliminates the “where is the bag of medication” issues that can occur with typical filled and bagged medications placed in alphabetical pickup bins. After completion of accurate medication filling at Hobbs Pharmacy, their usual bar-coded paper medication-containing bag is placed into a specially designed, large RxMedic ARS flexible pouch which has an analog number and a digital receiver. Once the pouch is placed into the hanging rack for medication storage until patient delivery, it is ready for accurate patient delivery following patient date of birth confirmation.

When the point of sale process is initiated, the RX30 system, following its software request from the delivery technician for patient date of birth confirmation, alerts digitally the correct hanging pouch which initiates a blinking green light on the pouch for specific retrieval by the checkout technician. Once the pouch is chosen it is then scanned for delivery (showing the correct birth date) to the patient and the point of sale is completed. This automated retrieval system (ARS) ensures the correct medication is provided to the correct patient/customer.

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Human Error at Point of Sale is Eliminated

Human error, which often is to blame for providing wrong medication to patient at delivery, is eliminated. No same name mix-ups occur which often can happen when bags for delivery in typical alphabetical filing pickup bins is used. The system also allows location of multiple prescriptions filled at different times to be quickly retrieved tied to date of birth.

A major advantage of the RxMedic ARS system from a pharmacist viewpoint is that it is not a separate add-on system requiring additional technician and pharmacist keystroke inputs to set up the electronic will call for patients. During regular workflow, and because the RxMedic ARS is integrated within the existing pharmacy software system, this step is completed and the digital security for accurate patient delivery is actuated.

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When asked about the integration and installation process for the ARS into the RX30 software, Eric offered: “For us here at Hobbs Pharmacy the installation and training of our staff by the RX Medic technicians was superb. We have not had similar positive experiences with some other vendors of new technologies.” The RxMedic ARS can be integrated into many of the leading pharmacy management software systems.

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Additional Technology Surprises Discovered at Hobbs Rx

As the interview concluded I realized that the only true counting device on the main dispensing counter was an RxMedic Eyecon instrument. I was told that this counting device, with its digital photo capture and memory storage, had paid for itself many times over because it allows a visual record of the count and easily solves “medication count challenges” by patients. With the opioid epidemic in full bloom this unit is a powerful security tool and supports accurate opoid inventory (and also for all medications). Videos demonstrating the utility of this unit are available at www.RxMedic.com.

A final technology being used by the Hobbs Pharmacy, recently outlined in ComputerTalk (www.ComputerTalk.com) magazine, is the use of the QR symbol printed on every label which allows patient customers to use their cell phone to order prescription refills, review traditional hard copy medication information sheets and even view a live video recorded by the pharmacist about the proper way to take the medication! Remarkable.

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Indeed, Hobbs Pharmacy in Merritt Island, Florida with its outstanding level of patient satisfaction, confirms the phrase “the best was saved for last” in the final stop on the 2016 Healthcare Advocate Tour. Visit Hobbs Pharmacy online at www.HobbsRx.com. They are located in Merritt Island, Florida at 133 North Banana River Road, Merritt Island, FL. Telephone: 321.452.0010.

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