When handling large patient data and meeting the medical needs of each of them, you want to be thorough. As pharmacists and healthcare CTOs, you must be trying to do your best to serve the patients well while also growing your network consistently. Of course, profits flow in when all things are done right. Pharmacy automation has a major role to play here.
Pharmacy automation isn’t a brand-new concept, for sure. But artificial intelligence, cloud-based solutions, machine learning, and other advancements have given it a progressive perspective. Pharmacies and healthcare networks like yours can easily go beyond Excel sheets and other electronic records to boost management.
What does an automated pharmacy look like today? Why should you be leveraging it? How does it affect your growth at all? Let’s dive into the answers to each of these questions.
What is Automation in Pharmacy?
Pharmacy automation refers to the use of technology to streamline and improve various tasks within a pharmacy, from storing and dispensing medications to managing inventory and records. It encompasses a wide range of tools and systems, each targeting specific areas of the workflow.
Automation in pharmacy also plays a crucial role in reducing human errors and enhancing medication safety by implementing barcode scanning and verification systems, ensuring that the correct medications are dispensed to patients. Additionally, the integration of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) systems facilitates a seamless and secure exchange of prescription information between healthcare providers and pharmacies, further contributing to a more streamlined and patient-centric healthcare experience.
Pharmacy automation also unlocks valuable time for pharmacists, allowing them to focus on delivering personalized patient care and medication counseling, ultimately leading to better health experiences for everyone.
5 Key Benefits Of Pharmacy Automation to Optimize Healthcare
In expanding and future-proofing pharmacies, most of our clients insist on understanding the direct and indirect benefits of software. Certainly, this helps informed decision-making regarding investments and takes your attention to all possibilities for improvement. Therefore, here are some core benefits of pharmacy automation systems.
Better Operational Speed and Accuracy
Pharmacy automation ensures speedy and precise handling of products, as compared to human precision. It offers timely access to the right medication, with error tracking, reduced contamination, and precise weighing for storage or dispensing.
Think about the long, tiring hours at a pharmacy. Fatigue can lead to mistakes that have serious consequences. There have been serious problems inviting trouble for pharmacists and pharmacy owners. In the United States alone 7,000 to 9,000 people die annually because of prescribing or dispensing errors.
Pharmacy automation systems eliminate that risk by performing tasks flawlessly, maintaining accuracy and consistency, and ensuring the right results every time, except in rare cases when servicing is needed.
Real-time Inventory Tracking
You certainly have no time to waste on searching shelves or guessing inventory levels. A well-planned pharmacy automation system keeps real-time track of every medication, saving time & costs, and ensuring availability so you can say goodbye to stockouts, expired medicines, and theft.
These software store all details including purchases, dates, expiration, prescribed dosage, and customer data. You can effortlessly manage inventory across multiple locations and provide reliable services to patients.
Reduce Workload and Labor Costs
Automation optimizes your team's skills by shifting them from routine tasks to higher-value responsibilities. Smartly planned pharmacy automation systems allow medical professionals to focus on patient care and business growth initiatives like medication synchronization, star ratings, and consultative sales.
You can streamline operations, freeing up your staff to dedicate more time to patients and strategic endeavors. Thus your pharmacy can tackle more complex duties without extra overtime costs or hiring.
Investing more in patient care, consultations, and profit-generating activities like patient education and immunizations, spikes productivity and eliminates operational costs increasing revenue and profit margins.
Improves Engagement and Patient Care
Pharmacy automation saves valuable time from administrative tasks, so you can focus on providing better patient care. It makes it easier to have meaningful interactions with patients, address their issues, and educate them about health & wellness.
Automated prescriptions and other tech-integrated services facilitate 24/7 precise patient care, making you more reliable. Patients can access prescriptions and necessary medical care conveniently which keeps them satisfied and has a positive impact on your clientele.
Data Security and Confidentiality
There are various laws and regulations ensuring patient data and drug handling security. Pharmacy automation, like automated prescription fulfillment, aligns with these requirements seamlessly.
This not only reassures customers about their health and data safety but also streamlines processes, enhancing security. Pharmacy managers can trust automation to prevent misuse of drugs or customer data.
How Does Automation In Pharmacy Work?
Leveraging tech to automate repetitive tasks like data handling, medicine inventory management, and distribution of medicines saves time and ensures accuracy. Pharmacy automation systems provide a one-stop solution for hundreds of routine tasks. But the most lucrative aspect here is you get record-keeping, data analytics, and better decision-making with the help of machine learning and AI.
Let’s understand the various aspects of pharmacy management that can be automated.
When it comes to tracking and managing customer orders and medication details, automation helps with maintaining smart records. Not only this, pharmacy automation systems provide full-fledged dashboards that let you access and manage prescriptions, orders, inventory data, and patient details in one place.
This is a lot more accurate and less complex than pen-paper records. Additionally, it’s easier to track the inventory of prescribed drugs so patients don’t have to buy substandard medicines. This looks a lot like what a telemedicine app does!
Packaging and Labeling
Packaging and labeling medications are integral yet mundane tasks. While this is a sensitive matter, automated packaging and labeling leave less room for errors. It also helps reduce any contamination during packaging.
Connecting the pharmacy data management system with packaging and labeling machines makes the work easier and more sophisticated. It’s a reliable way to hassle-free print patient names, medicine details, dosage, and even an emergency number on the medicine delivery package.
If you are a licensed pharmacist, you must know that medicine compounding is necessary for various conditions. While you need a medication different from what pharmaceuticals originally created, there are many compounding regulations to abide by.
Pharmacy automation makes medication compounding easier with complete system integrations that include software, robotics, and machinery. This ensures that everything is done in a sterile environment, eliminating errors and contamination.
Drug Storage and Dispensing
While most of this is manual operation, pharmacy automation systems help make the storage and dispensing of medicines more reliable. While you have the option of using machines to place medicines in the right place without errors and contamination, automated pharmacy dispensing systems can help you track expiration dates, dispensed inventories, consumers, etc.
During every phase of medicine purchase, compounding, labeling, storage, and dispensing, the database updates itself. This facilitates optimum usage of stored drugs for various conditions while offering the best services to patients.
The Role Of Emerging Tech In Pharmacy Automation
As we said earlier, pharmacy automation has come far from where it started. It has a lot more to do than electronic feeds and barcode readings. Smart, modern technologies have a crucial role-play here. How? Let’s understand.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a vital aspect of pharmacy automation, ensuring precision in medication dispensing. It cross-checks medications by photographing and weighing them against stored data, guaranteeing accuracy.
Patient-oriented AI chatbots aid in selecting OTC (over-the-counter) medicines based on symptoms and facilitate prescription orders online or through calls. Moreover, AI enables pharmaceutical companies to gather and analyze crucial consumer data, fostering robust business growth.
Blockchain can be used to ensure seamless drug traceability. Each drug receives a unique code upon production, which is then entered into the blockchain. Every subsequent action involving the medication, from wholesaler to pharmacy, patient sale to hospital delivery, doctor or patient returns, or disposal due to expiration, gets recorded.
Several companies have already integrated blockchain into their operations, enabling devices in retail and hospital pharmacies to effortlessly log or verify information by reading these codes. This system thwarts counterfeit medications from circulating, triggering alerts for pharmacists in case of a code mismatch.
Counterfeit drugs not only jeopardize patient health but also cause many pharmacy professionals to lose their jobs. It's no surprise that blockchain adoption is necessary to maintain security while implementing digital transformation in healthcare.
Robot Processing Automation
RPA can be a great aid for pharmacy and healthcare operations, working hand-in-hand with AI. Though it doesn't autonomously analyze data or make decisions, it drives repetitive tasks such as counting, weighing, mixing, packing, and storing in robotic devices.
In pharmacy management and other healthcare software development, RPA brings in accuracy for processes like automated medication storage, retrieval using barcodes, order placement, and return tracking. Moreover, it streamlines patient data management, enabling swift updates, storage, and extraction, while effortlessly generating reports for caregivers, doctors, and other authorities.
Integrating these technologies into your pharmacy automation systems can make them truly progressive and future-proof.
The Pharmacy automation market is valued at USD 4,697.67 million as of 2023. It is expected to reach USD 6,983.16 million by 2028 at a CAGR of 7.80%.
While the industry is highly fragmented, you can get inspired by the pharmacy market leaders. The top 5 of them are:
Pharmacies like yours are consciously stepping toward a tech-powered future; you can too!
Build a Pharmacy Automation System With Us
To drive growth for your pharmacy, it’s crucial that you work hand-in-hand with the latest technologies. Automated pharmacy will pave the way for growth, expansion, and competency for you, ensuring streamlined management and relevant medical care for the patients. However, executing these plans meticulously requires a reliable development partner.
At Narola Infotech, we provide 360° assistance and exemplary software development services to meet your exact requirements. Our services are an adaptable blend of market research, ideation to complement your core business objectives, strategies to serve your customers excellently, and the latest technologies to lubricate them.
We have been providing innovative, custom-made solutions across industries and 50+ countries for 18+ years now. Our work speaks for itself. Take a look at our previous projects →
Want to build a pharmacy management software or need assistance with an existing one? We’re here to help! Let us know about your project in the contact form below. We’ll revert back sooner than you expect!