This is part of ScriptPro’s In the Field series, which highlights ScriptPro customers engaging in unique pharmacy programs that positively impact their local communities.
York & Co. Pharmacy has a special place in the community of Richland, Missouri. With an 80-year history, it’s been the only community pharmacy within 25 miles of any direction.When Kyle York, PharmD, and his wife Olivia returned to their roots in south-central Missouri to be closer to family, they worked with the previous longtime owner of the pharmacy. In 2015, they had the opportunity to take on its ownership – launching York & Co. Pharmacy that November.Since day one, it’s been a family affair. Kyle and Olivia understood that running a successful independent business required much more than being a good pharmacist. According to Kyle, “I knew pharmacy in and out, and knew what to do to keep my patients safe. But I was unsure of how to successfully run a business– they don’t teach you that in pharmacy school.
“It became evident early on that we had a diverse ownership group with specific strengths, so we divided duties to handle the gargantuan task of pharmacy ownership.” ScriptPro became an integral part of their strategy.While Kyle handles all the pharmacist roles and responsibilities, Olivia manages marketing and their long-term care operations. Olivia’s parents, Jerry and Nita Bechtel, are co-owners as well, and bring over 30 years of business ownership to the table, including an MBA with Human Resources experience. As a result, York & Co. Pharmacy has thrived, growing its prescription volume from 350 prescriptions per day in 2015 to nearly 550 in 2019.
Reliable pharmacy automation key to supporting patient services
A key factor to this growth is the pharmacy’s adoption of technology automation. When the owners acquired the pharmacy, they also acquired all its equipment, which included a partially automated system. The system proved to be poorly designed and unreliable. Considering that York & Co. plays a vital role in their community, having reliable systems were necessary for them to provide the services their patients needed.“Those first six months after we opened, we were just treading water. We knew we needed technology, and we definitely needed something much better than what we currently had,” notes Olivia. “We heard great things about ScriptPro and had the opportunity to see their robots in action at other pharmacies as well as visit ScriptPro’s headquarters.” What most struck the owners was ScriptPro’s simple and straightforward robotic design.
A ScriptPro SP 200 was installed at York & Co. in 2016. It quickly earned its place as a valued team member, gaining the name “Louise” in homage to a beloved grandmother who had the reputation for “getting a whole lot done in a day.”“Robotics offered us a two-fold solution,” says Olivia. “We hit a 52% fill rate with Louise – and she also offers improved accuracy while freeing up our staff to focus on patient care.”“We’re in a small town, and because of that, we’ve become more than just a pharmacy to our customers. I can’t tell you how many well-person checks we do. We’re a real part of our patients’ lives. Additionally, we’ve been able to grow our prescription volume, offer long-term care prescription filling, and launch a med sync program. It’s been very rewarding to see how our med sync program has improved adherence rates.”
Automation safety and accuracy brings solutions to business challenges
In late 2018, York & Co. faced some of the challenges that come with running a business and managing employees. They needed a solution for deterring diversion and improving safety. The pharmacy retroactively installed security features, like locking doors and a locking column, to its SP 200, making a big difference.
With industry and rule changes occurring more frequently for controlled substances, York & Co. determined a solution specifically for its high risk and controlled medications was important.Like they did in 2016, the owners visited pharmacies with ScriptPro robots – this time the CRS 150 – to see them in action and determine if another robot would help them fully achieve their goals for improved safety and security.Later this year, the pharmacy will welcome another ScriptPro automation unit to the family. “After seeing the CRS 150 in action, we determined it was the perfect solution for handling many of our controlled meds,” says Olivia. “As a business owner, part of your responsibility is to protect your staff. Our CRS 150 will ensure our high-risk medications are handled responsibly.”Nearly five years in, the owners are proud of the unique role their pharmacy has with its patient population, which is substantially made up of the 65+ crowd. Olivia shares, “We’re able to offer shipping to our patients, as well as deliveries each week to neighboring towns.“The automation solutions in which we’ve invested have allowed us to truly meet the growing needs of our community. Like most businesses, we are open to future opportunities to better serve our customer base.