Pharmacy Automation System Created The Success Of Medcare Pharmacy

Glenn Dowdy, pharmacist/owner of the three Medcare Pharmacies along the North Carolina/South Carolina border, is candid about his pharmacy operation success: €Automated pharmacy dispensing has had an impact on my pharmacy operation image. Customers understand how we accomplish customer service. We are about fast, efficient and accurate medication delivery. Our RxMedic Pharmacy Robot ensures this.€

Dowdy’s independent Medcare Pharmacy chain has locations in Bennettsville and Clover, South Carolina and in Indian Trail, North Carolina. The primary operation in Bennettsville is located some 20 miles from the North Carolina/South Carolina border. For those who have visited the PeeDee area of South Carolina, Bennettsville is close to Cheraw and north of Darlington, slightly south of Rockingham, North Carolina. Medcare Pharmacy is THE pharmacy €player€ in this geographic area€¦outperforming the retail commercial larger chain competitors.

Why is Medcare Pharmacy So Successful?
€It’s about customer service and knowing your clientele,€ said Dowdy. €We enable, effect and empower our customers to believe in their healthcare. We have been particularly successful through assisting our customers with insurance plan considerations,€ he added. €Most folks just don’t know the complexities that will determine their co-pays. Insurance matters can be very time-consuming. The RxMedic pharmacy robot frees up our workflow so we can bond with our customers,€ commented Dowdy.

Current Pharmacy ROI Challenges Come From All Directions
Dowdy also offered some comments about his current pharmacy ownership challenges to ensure ROI €Owning a pharmacy today and ensuring ROI is quite different than 10 years ago. With government expansion into the healthcare insurance business and several major pharmacy retail chains either owning insurance payors or evaluating involvement, the landscape of prescription medication reimbursement has changed for independent pharmacies, particularly. It’s very difficult to run a profitable operation when you receive only a $2 per prescription filled payback after all costs are considered. Today, it’s a major challenge. Thankfully, I have an ADS to offset my costs to fill.€
€With no misfills or miscounts, I don’t find myself exposed to naturally occurring human errors during the filling process,€ said Dowdy. €I’m pleased that about 70% of our prescriptions filled are processed by the ADS,€ he added.

Pharmacy Patient Care Case Managers May Be An Answer
As Dowdy works to offset the current pharmacy ROI challenges, he is considering some different revenue-generating options. Using newly licensed PharmD’s dedicated to this concept, Dowdy senses he might be able to complete more MTM (medication therapy management) activities for his older Medicare clientele, allowing insurance reimbursement. Today, depending on the extent and completeness of the MTM exercise, pharmacies can receive upwards of $60 per single event. It can take at least 30-45 minutes to complete a quality MTM event with the considerable documentation required and the scheduling mandated. The flip-side of this opportunity today, however, is that there are very few insurance companies and health plans who support this MTM effort with reimbursement as encouraged by prior government legislation.

It’s About Finding More Time
With all of the new time-requiring activities (medication adherence attention, medication synchronization opportunities and other required patient engagement activities), do you or your pharmacists have the available quality time to interact with your patient/customers? Dowdy continually looks to increase workflow efficiencies because of his commitment to pharmacy service. His Bennettsville staff, for example, ensure no telephone call rings more than 3 times before customer service initiates.

Dowdy senses that eMobility (use of mobile cellular technology) may be an opportunity area for increasing Medicare ROI and patient engagement. For pharmacists, attention to eMobility trends is important. There are upwards of 70% of individuals today owning smartphones and computer tablets –accessing their mobile technologies as often as 60 times a day. So pharmacy automation systems need to be able to adapt their technology to interface with these devices. Anyone spending time with Glenn and his staff will soon realize €Pharmacy is Still a Thrill.€

Customer and Market Demands Lead to Pharmacy Automation and Innovation: Lessons in How an Independent Pharmacy Remains a Market Leader

Community pharmacies are in an increasingly tough environment. Competition and legislation can make profitability challenging. We visited one pharmacy that is thriving in this environment through old-fashioned customer service and bold new innovation. And RxMedic pharmacy automation is part of the success story.

Travelling to Hummelstown, Pennsylvania as part of an appreciation tour by RxMedic for its users was a remarkable and surprising experience for this pharmacist. I had been told prior to the visit by someone who has visited over 1000 pharmacies in the past 30 years that this was not like any other pharmacy, and could easily be the best well-managed large operation I would ever visit. Indeed, it exceeded my expectations. What can other pharmacies learn from this experience?

Perhaps even more impressive than the initial visual effect of the downtown location with its quaint multi-story buildings, is the interior and detailed presentation of a vast number of different products€¦all of which surround a pharmacy designed with the latest technology to provide accurate and quick delivery of prescriptions and medication consultations.

The Diabetes Specialty Shoppe, private consultation and immunization areas are all within four feet of the primary prescription delivery area. The word tidy hardly expresses the attention to detail that exists in this pharmacy area in front and throughout the entire operation. For example, not a single item of the extensive number of over-the-counter products presented, each within their designated planogram area, was shelf-placed crooked€¦only perfectly aligned facing the viewer.

What do your customers see when they arrive at your pharmacy drop-off area to leave or pick up a prescription? Does what they see inspire trust in the pharmacist and pharmacy?

Customers Expect Automated Pharmacy Dispensing
Patients expect technology to improve their pharmacy experience. And since patient health and safety are the top priorities for David and Jeanne Lutz, installing an RxMedic ADS pharmacy robot was a great solution. €Our customers expect us to be leading pharmacy practice in this region. They value the latest technologies we have in place and how we use these technologies to effect the quickest and accurate filling with best pricing for their medications.€ says David, a long time pharmacist and technology advocate.

It is quickly apparent that David and his wife Jeanne thrive on the customer appreciation they receive as they deliver superior customer service to their extended area family. Rhoads Pharmacy and Gift Shop in Hummelstown serves over 350 customers a day in a 16,000 square foot operation, and ADS helps them meet volume demands accurately and safely.

Rhoads Pharmacy and Gift Shop Uses Advanced Mobile Technology
The number of challenges facing the pharmacy profession today, due to new national agendas for improved patient/customer healthcare support, are of concern to David Lutz and his staff€¦but newly implemented pharmacy workflow actions have married well to the RxMedic automated dispensing system (nicknamed €Flo€) which has been in place nearly four years.

The Rhoads Pharmacy website is available to mobile users and more importantly has its own separate app, called Pocket Rx. This app is downloadable on both the iPhone and all android smartphones. This app allows patients to easily refill prescriptions directly and safely from their cell phones. It also allows creation of a user profile to track refills and expedite the refill process as well as create medication reminder alarms to help remind one when to take medication.

Rhoads also has an extensive social media presence. Every effort in the Rhoads Pharmacy and Gift Shop is test-market evaluated prior to implementation because David Lutz knows it can impact his ROI (return on investment)€¦which in this facility is very significant. Can your customers find you online, and, more importantly, interact with you there?

Ratings matter for Pharmacists Tasked with Patient Medication Adherence and Medication Therapy Management
While hospitals and Long Term Care (LTC) facilities have been graded by CMS for years (nursing home compare, hospital compare, or HCAHPS), pharmacies in the near future will also be part of the CMS performance rating system. Medicare Advantage Plans’ ratings impact their compensation as well as their ability to enroll more beneficiaries. Community Pharmacies can impact a plan’s ratings in two categories: improving medication adherence and providing point-of-service interventions to address gaps in care.

Plans want to work with pharmacies that can raise their star ratings, so they effectively drive business to those pharmacies that pay attention to performance in these areas. David and his staff of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and counter customer service individuals have already initiated pharmacy workflow approaches to ensure a five €5€ star rating with the new CMS excellence guidelines by evaluating their provision of MTM (medication therapy management) and patient medication adherence efforts.

Not surprisingly, community pharmacists who have long waited to actually be the Consultant Pharmacist of Record for each patient/customer will now be mandated to deal with America’s other drug problem, that of medication adherence. David Lutz and his staff actually started this approach four years ago€¦they are clearly ahead of the healthcare reform curve. Is your pharmacy positioned to perform well under CMS scrutiny and healthcare reform legislation?

Success is not an accident
Success in today’s pharmacy environ demands involvement and quick implementation of the latest technologies, as well as being ready to embrace market and legislative changes effectively. Rhoads Pharmacy is successful thanks to a management philosophy that is committed to providing excellence in pharmacy services, and being innovative in doing so. RxMedic shares that commitment to service and innovation, and is proud to be the pharmacy automation vendor of choice for Rhoads Pharmacy. How can we help you succeed?

How Many Types of Careers Are There in the Pharmacy Field?

There are many kinds of jobs in the retail pharmacy industry. Nowadays, individuals have to be considerably learned, trained and experienced in the field to get a job in this industry. The responsibility of these people is equally great.

In general, pharmacists have to keep computerized information about the patients, their illness, prescription of the doctor and medicines prescribed. They are also held accountable for the accuracy of all information, to see that medicines do not come in conflict and prove harmful, to very prescriptions to the doctors who wrote them and generally to assist in running the store. In the retail pharmacy industry, there are several career options, some of which are described here.

A career in the retail pharmaceutical industry: This is one of the most common fields of career. Retail pharmacists are in charge of the daily running of pharmacies. These people are knowledgeable about various kinds of medicines, sickness which these can cure, food items which patients should avoid and much more. They know which medicines work at cross purposes to create adverse effects in the human body. But perhaps the most common and important function they perform is to advice on over-the-counter medications. Retail pharmacists have plenty of knowledge to advise on the issues of diet and exercise of the patients.

Pharmacists in a Internal Hospital Pharmacy: Every big hospital today has a team of pharmacists to dispense medicines and other medical supplies such as braces and crutches based on the prescriptions of the doctors. Clinics and nursing homes have these individuals too. This is done so that the patients do not have to go far to get the medicines. These individuals carefully study the prescriptions and based on them forward medicines. Pharmacists in these medical establishments can prescribe additional medicines, provided they do not prove to be dangerous in conjugation with other drugs. Healthcare pharmacists are also employed by insurance companies. These people are required to monitor the prescriptions of the clients or customers to keep a tab on the medications and other information.

For research in pharmaceutical conglomerates: Today, there are a large number of such companies which focus on the invention and manufacture of various medicines. These companies also educate the public on diseases, illnesses and medicines.

Pharmacy technicians are a new breed of medicine dispensers and commonly work in retail pharmacies. It is a wrong notion that pharmacy technicians are just educated individuals who help the owners in counting pills and recording prescriptions. Often, patients cannot understand the things written on the prescription. At this point of time the advice of pharmacy technicians becomes very important as they can interpret the document and even advice on alternative medicines depending on the prescription. Pharmacy technicians are the final point of check before one consumes the medicines, and for this reason their role is very important. Retail pharmacies have many kinds of such individuals such as purchase technicians, billing technicians, general technicians and others. In general, technicians in this field have to collect and store patient’s medical records, digitizing prescriptions, putting an order for medicines, receiving and arranging medicines on the store shelves, maintenance of cash register and much more. Pharmacy Technicians: know the patients on a personal level and therefore know their medical history, based on which they can advise on medicines.

Can Pharmacy Robots Help Provide Care With a More Human Touch?

There’s little doubt that pharmacy robots are elevating safety and efficiency in dispensing medicine to heights previously thought impossible, but can they also lead the way in making health care more patient-centered and compassionate?

That is exactly what is happening at El Rio Community Health Center, based in Tucson, AZ. El Rio began with one location in 1970 and provided health care to Tucson’s underserved and uninsured population. The Center now serves over 80,000 people a year with multiple locations throughout greater Tucson and southern Arizona. Services offered now include primary care, preventive health services, specialized care in chronic disease treatment, as well as dental, radiology, lab and pharmacy services. El Rio has been recognized nationally as a model for community-based action in health care, as well as for the quality of its programs and medical staff. This is in a large part due to El Rio’s evolution and growth over the last 44 years.

El Rio seeks to treat the whole person with a focus on patient-centered care in all aspects of diagnosis and treatment, including prescription fulfillment and management. There are seven pharmacy locations in the system, and together they fill close to 600,000 prescriptions yearly. The pharmacy is also home to El Rio’s Pharmacy-Based Diabetes Clinics, an award winning approach to diabetes management. Clinical pharmacists consult directly with patients and integrate diabetes treatment with the treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They also provide in-depth education that gives each patient the know-how to be proactive in managing and maintaining good health.

This kind of comprehensive care is exactly what El Rio Associate Pharmacy Director Joshua Carzoli, PharmD, aims to provide more of, without sacrificing the efficiency or accuracy of prescription fulfillment. El Rio is achieving those lofty goals with the help of pharmacy automation. The health center purchased three RM64 pharmacy robots earlier this year from RxMedic. RM64s are known as the fastest pharmacy robots on the market – filling as many as five prescriptions per minute. With El Rio’s high and ever increasing demand it helps meet their need for prescription filling immediately – without sacrificing patient care.

€Safety is paramount, as is efficiency,€ Carzoli said. €With pharmacy automation we are able to fill prescriptions quickly and safely so that our patients have an excellent experience.€

The RM64 is leading edge robotics technology. It can count up to 5 prescriptions simultaneously, dispensing each directly into one of three different vial sizes so there are no cross-contamination risks and no air quality issues. Locating, selecting, verifying, and checking out a prescription takes just 3 key strokes for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists.

€Our managers are reporting decreased waiting times,€ Carzoli said. €We are able to provide high quality service without sacrificing safety.€

The safety features of the RM64 include a barcode system that ensures the right drug is dispensed to the right patient. The unique photo verification system provides a digital image of each prescription and stores it for future reference. Visual verification improves safety and accuracy in the pharmacy filling process. Having a pharmacy automation system also allows for El Rio pharmacists to have more time to carefully review treatment plans for each patient.
€Our pharmacists now have time to review a patient€s medical record, meet with patients and identify drug related problems such as duplicate therapy or gaps in therapy,€ Carzoli said.

El Rio has plans underway to add a fourth RM64 pharmacy robot early next year.

€We would like to expand automation across all our sites for the sake of safety and efficiency,€ Carzoli said.

In addition to safety, the RM64 helps ensure that the care each patient receives is the best it can be. €

€Our goal with pharmacy automation is that we can restructure our workflow to enable our pharmacists to expand our collaboration with our clinical teams and have a larger role in direct patient care. Automation creates the opportunity for our pharmacists to have more time to directly interact with our patients,€ Carzoli said. €Our mission at El Rio is improving the health of our community through comprehensive, accessible, affordable, quality compassionate care. We believe that having a pharmacist involved directly in patient care will improve the quality of care a patient receives.€

Recently, El Rio Community Health Center was selected to receive one of the 2014 American Pharmacists Association Foundation Pinnacle Awards (APhA). This award was established in 1998 to celebrate significant contributions to the medication use process. The APhA Foundation stated in its news release, €The expanded services at El Rio Health Center have been pivotal in showing a pharmacist’s value in primary prevention, in addition to showing a reimbursable model for pharmacy services.€

El Rio Community Health Pharmacy is using technology in improving and innovating patient-centered care for underserved populations. Striving for excellence in all aspects of patient care includes the pharmacist and the pharmacy.

Customer and Market Demands Lead to Pharmacy Automation and Innovation: Lessons in How an Independent Pharmacy Remains a Market Leader

Community pharmacies are in an increasingly tough environment. Competition and legislation can make profitability challenging. We visited one pharmacy that is thriving in this environment through old-fashioned customer service and bold new innovation. And RxMedic pharmacy automation is part of the success story.

Travelling to Hummelstown, Pennsylvania as part of an appreciation tour by RxMedic for its users was a remarkable and surprising experience for this pharmacist. I had been told prior to the visit by someone who has visited over 1000 pharmacies in the past 30 years that this was not like any other pharmacy, and could easily be the best well-managed large operation I would ever visit. Indeed, it exceeded my expectations. What can other pharmacies learn from this experience?

Perhaps even more impressive than the initial visual effect of the downtown location with its quaint multi-story buildings, is the interior and detailed presentation of a vast number of different products€¦all of which surround a pharmacy designed with the latest technology to provide accurate and quick delivery of prescriptions and medication consultations.

The Diabetes Specialty Shoppe, private consultation and immunization areas are all within four feet of the primary prescription delivery area. The word tidy hardly expresses the attention to detail that exists in this pharmacy area in front and throughout the entire operation. For example, not a single item of the extensive number of over-the-counter products presented, each within their designated planogram area, was shelf-placed crooked€¦only perfectly aligned facing the viewer.

What do your customers see when they arrive at your pharmacy drop-off area to leave or pick up a prescription? Does what they see inspire trust in the pharmacist and pharmacy?

Customers Expect Automated Pharmacy Dispensing
Patients expect technology to improve their pharmacy experience. And since patient health and safety are the top priorities for David and Jeanne Lutz, installing an RxMedic ADS pharmacy robot was a great solution. €Our customers expect us to be leading pharmacy practice in this region. They value the latest technologies we have in place and how we use these technologies to effect the quickest and accurate filling with best pricing for their medications.€ says David, a long time pharmacist and technology advocate.

It is quickly apparent that David and his wife Jeanne thrive on the customer appreciation they receive as they deliver superior customer service to their extended area family. Rhoads Pharmacy and Gift Shop in Hummelstown serves over 350 customers a day in a 16,000 square foot operation, and ADS helps them meet volume demands accurately and safely.

Rhoads Pharmacy and Gift Shop Uses Advanced Mobile Technology
The number of challenges facing the pharmacy profession today, due to new national agendas for improved patient/customer healthcare support, are of concern to David Lutz and his staff€¦but newly implemented pharmacy workflow actions have married well to the RxMedic automated dispensing system (nicknamed €Flo€) which has been in place nearly four years.

The Rhoads Pharmacy website is available to mobile users and more importantly has its own separate app, called Pocket Rx. This app is downloadable on both the iPhone and all android smartphones. This app allows patients to easily refill prescriptions directly and safely from their cell phones. It also allows creation of a user profile to track refills and expedite the refill process as well as create medication reminder alarms to help remind one when to take medication.

Rhoads also has an extensive social media presence. Every effort in the Rhoads Pharmacy and Gift Shop is test-market evaluated prior to implementation because David Lutz knows it can impact his ROI (return on investment)€¦which in this facility is very significant. Can your customers find you online, and, more importantly, interact with you there?

Ratings matter for Pharmacists Tasked with Patient Medication Adherence and Medication Therapy Management
While hospitals and Long Term Care (LTC) facilities have been graded by CMS for years (nursing home compare, hospital compare, or HCAHPS), pharmacies in the near future will also be part of the CMS performance rating system. Medicare Advantage Plans’ ratings impact their compensation as well as their ability to enroll more beneficiaries. Community Pharmacies can impact a plan’s ratings in two categories: improving medication adherence and providing point-of-service interventions to address gaps in care.

Plans want to work with pharmacies that can raise their star ratings, so they effectively drive business to those pharmacies that pay attention to performance in these areas. David and his staff of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and counter customer service individuals have already initiated pharmacy workflow approaches to ensure a five €5€ star rating with the new CMS excellence guidelines by evaluating their provision of MTM (medication therapy management) and patient medication adherence efforts.

Not surprisingly, community pharmacists who have long waited to actually be the Consultant Pharmacist of Record for each patient/customer will now be mandated to deal with America’s other drug problem, that of medication adherence. David Lutz and his staff actually started this approach four years ago€¦they are clearly ahead of the healthcare reform curve. Is your pharmacy positioned to perform well under CMS scrutiny and healthcare reform legislation?

Success is not an accident
Success in today’s pharmacy environ demands involvement and quick implementation of the latest technologies, as well as being ready to embrace market and legislative changes effectively. Rhoads Pharmacy is successful thanks to a management philosophy that is committed to providing excellence in pharmacy services, and being innovative in doing so. RxMedic shares that commitment to service and innovation, and is proud to be the pharmacy automation vendor of choice for Rhoads Pharmacy. How can we help you succeed?