Pharmacists Focus on Patient Needs with Help of Automation

Pharmacists Focus on Patient Needs with Help of Automation

Lucy Moyer, Director of Pharmacy Operations

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Pharmacy first considered automation in 1998 when their prescription volume was growing 10% each year, but they had no additional counter space for dispensing pharmacists to expand services.

They needed to accomplish service goals and production goals without increasing their current staff and also wanted pharmacists to devote more time to preparing investigational, injectable, narcotic, and chemotherapy drug prescriptions. With a faster, more efficient method of filling less challenging prescriptions, pharmacists would have more time to dedicate to patient counseling and serving patients’ needs at the pharmacy window. Maintaining prescription accuracy and patient safety with an increasing prescription volume was also a primary concern.

The solution to all of these issues was accomplished with ScriptPro robotic dispensing technology. Lucy Moyer, Director of Pharmacy Operations, explained,

“ScriptPro interested us because of the sound mechanical construction of the SP 200. The mechanical design is efficient and simple and we anticipated few equipment problems or down time. The SP 200 is also quiet. A pharmacist can easily talk on the telephone while the equipment is in operation. The price was reasonable, making the product a great value. We liked the small footprint, how it conformed to our pharmacy workflow, and the easy on-site calibration of cells.”

They purchased the SP 200 in 1998 and their prescription rate continued to grow. In 2002, another location opened and they found that the SP 200 was still the best option for their automation needs, so they bought another one. Moyer said,

“The efficient operation of the SP 200 expedites the filling of prescriptions. We can process 150 prescriptions in an hour. Our pharmacists have more time to spend on complicated prescriptions, on reviewing patient profiles, and on patient counseling. Our prescription rate is still growing by 10% each year, but now we are able to use our people for professional tasks and use our robots for technical tasks.”