When I sit down with a customer to talk with them about pharmacy fulfillment and the opportunity that pharmacy automation can create for pharmacy providers, I start the conversation with a focus on the barriers and challenges they may be facing when it comes to patient care; and how a centralized pharmacy fulfillment strategy can help an iA customer tackle these challenges. While there are many challenges that face the health care industry today, there is opportunity to use these challenges to inform and innovate by adopting iA’s pharmacy fulfillment automated solutions, powered by our intelligent enterprise pharmacy fulfillment software platform, NEXiA.
Pharmacy Fulfillment and the Pharmacist
Over the past 20 years, I have been fortunate to take part in evolving the pharmacy model, with a goal of helping pharmacists increase their time with patients and enabling pharmacy providers to increase the services they provide, while also positioning pharmacy as a critical component of the health care system.
When I started my personal journey in pharmacy, technology providers such as myself, in many cases, were focused on working with our customers to add technology to distribution end-points with a focus on brick-and-mortar pharmacy locations. Back then, the goal was to focus on increasing the quality of prescriptions manually filled, reduce patient wait times, and provide workflow and tracking tools that pharmacists could rely on, usually in a retail pharmacy setting.
When we had conversations during with our customers during this emerging phase for iA, the conversations we were having, sadly, were about their stories of waking up in the middle of the night trying to remember if they filled a certain prescription correctly. It was concerning to know that these individuals, passionate about their profession of pharmacy and their commitment to their customers, were so stressed out.
So, in those early days, I found it to be incredibly gratifying to work with iA customers to review all of the options available to them in regard to in-store robotics, tabletop counting devices, and barcode scanning, all coordinated by iA’s workflow software. Once we were able to get their custom solution up and running, the initiative to increase quality and reduce wait times was widely successful and we saw many pharmacies, large and small, incorporate iA pharmacy fulfillment solutions into a retail setting.
But the desire to incorporate and expand pharmacy fulfillment automated solutions was also driven by a rise in the adoption of centralized services such as central fill facilities, and the emergence and growth of patient care services offered at a pharmacy.
Pharmacy Fulfillment and Central Fill
Central fill services had been an important aspect of pharmacy for quite some time – they didn’t just emerge 20 years ago – however, the services a central fill pharmacy enabled were usually only realized by a small subset of pharmacies.
Over the past ten years, the adoption of the central fill model has grown from being a niche business model to being a competitive need. And the pandemic has only served as a catalyst for the adoption of pharmacy fulfillment as a core strategy. This past year has been transformational, with many pharmacies looking at how they can get involved in a centralized fulfillment model and how adoption of the model allows them to evolve.
Pharmacy Fulfillment Automation Today
This is pharmacy’s time and iA is excited to talk with our customers about how iA can help them realize their vision for working with their pharmacists to increase their role as front-line healthcare providers.
To further allow pharmacies to perform at the top of their abilities, to retain their patient base, and to be competitive, pharmacies have great opportunity to provide patient-facing care and high-value services. Centralized pharmacy fulfillment helps create the time and frees up operating capital needed to provide these services, with the added benefit of helping to increase the quality and efficiency of the prescription fulfillment process while also expanding patient choice.