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When it comes to pharmacy fulfillment solutions – how important is speed?

Oct 4, 2021 | Blogs

By: Bobbi Jamriska, Senior Director

I was recently driving home from our office in Indianapolis and started thinking about speed. While my car can easily go from zero to 65 in a matter of seconds, when I’m sitting in stand-still traffic, that capability means nothing. From my perspective, the traffic jam is just another bottleneck to my overall process time for getting home.

I started to think: as my car is a high performing model, when does that speed matter most? This then made me think about my role here at iA and how frequently I talk with our customers about the speed and efficiency of our pharmacy fulfillment solutions. The speed at which Pharmacy Fulfillment by iA can complete a task is an important factor in overall system performance. But that measure of speed is just one aspect of automation performance we look at here at iA when evaluating our pharmacy fulfillment solutions. 

For example, we can process hundreds of prescriptions an hour. However, when we look across a pharmacy fulfillment footprint, we may find that there are work stations within a given footprint that can only handle 100 prescriptions per hour. That may be due to a specific treatment or therapy requiring more time.  We work with our customers to understand their needs and work with them to build a solution that helps optimize efficiencies; it is understanding the full solution versus just speed of throughput. 

The pharmacy fulfillment cycle

The speed profile of each piece of the pharmacy fulfillment solution is a building block to support the entire fulfillment time across a pharmacy fulfillment footprint and that is the number that really matters. Don’t get me wrong – I love to talk about speed metrics when it comes to pharmacy fulfillment solutions. That’s because it’s relatable to our own day-to-day experiences, whether it’s your car on the road or how long you stand in line at the grocery store. 

But for pharmacy fulfillment solutions, speed is just one portion of how we work with our customers to analyze the performance of their system. Instead, we work with our customers to focus on total fulfillment time and overall system performance to help them see the full picture: speed x efficiency x safety and accuracy.

How are we measuring speed in pharmacy fulfillment to optimize performance? 

An inherent risk in looking just at the speed of a system is that you will often compare apples to oranges without realizing it. When we work together to analyze the speed of a pharmacy fulfillment solution, we also need to work together to capture all of the tasks that can impact that metric. For example, are we analyzing the number of prescriptions filled, bottles processed, or some other metric?

When you are evaluating a centralized pharmacy fulfillment solution, we also have to consider that individual automation speed is one factor on how to evaluate an overall pharmacy fulfillment solution system. You also need to examine the overall ability of the software to prioritize the workflow and maximize performance in concert with the pharmacy automation equipment being used to sort, fill and dispense prescriptions. An integrated review of your entire pharmacy fulfillment solution can help generate the desired output with the target fulfillment time being the best metric to focus on.

NEXiA, iA’s intelligent enterprise pharmacy fulfillment software platform, was specifically developed for intelligent prescription fulfillment for pharmacy providers to help deliver the level of insight pharmacies need to examine how all related pharmacy fulfillment metrics inform overall performance. And as we’ve been saying, speed is just one of those measures.

What’s your next step in pharmacy fulfillment?

We’re looking at the big picture to ensure pharmacy providers can feel confident in our fulfillment solutions. Supporting our customers with safe and accurate fulfillment solutions is important to us. Let’s discuss your pharmacy fulfillment needs and how iA can work with you to customize a solution that delivers all of the metrics you need to understand so that you can unleash the full potential of your pharmacy. 

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