Bainbridge Pharmacy implements automated system

Published 7:55 am Tuesday, November 13, 2012

AUTOMATED HELPER: Pharmacist Randy Logue and certified pharmacy tech Sarah Lynn Davis manually reload a pill cell

The latest in prescription filling technology is being implemented by Bainbridge Pharmacy, through its new ScriptPro Pharmacy Automation system.

It resembles a large food vending machine, with individual cells that contain the top 200 pill medications routinely dispensed at the pharmacy.

Pharmacist Randy Logue explains that once a prescription is filled on the computer, the information is transferred automatically to the dispenser, which is stocked with three different sizes of plastic vials.

Email newsletter signup

The appropriate vial travels to the correct cell and the pills are automatically counted out and dropped into the vial, which then travels back on a conveyer belt to the packaging area.

Logue said there are many safety features to ensure the correct filling of the prescriptions. Each cell has its own bar code, which must match the bar code of the stock from which it is manually filled. If the bar codes don’t match, an alarm sounds. When the vial arrives at the packaging area it is without a lid, so that the person finishing the handling can scan the prescription and double check the contents before capping and packaging it.

The computerized system also keeps a log of every prescription filled, including by whom and when it was processed.

Logue said it has the capacity to fill 150 prescriptions per hour when running at full speed, and does about 50-55 percent of their work. He counts this as a benefit to the customers, as it reduces long waits, especially for those filling multiple prescriptions. It also gives the pharmacists more time to interact with customers.

An additional feature, for those who call in to refill existing prescriptions, is that the call goes through a virtual RPH (registered pharmacist) directly to the Script Pro, making it possible not to have to touch the prescription until it comes out of the machine. Logue said there is even an App for a smart phone that uses this same procedure.

The 13-foot-long installation has been in operation at Bainbridge Pharmacy for two weeks. It was installed and personnel trained in its use over a four-day period.

Pharmacy owner, Edward Reynolds said although the technology has been around for a while the closest pharmacies to have it are in Valdosta, Ga., and Dothan, Ala. It appears to be the trend in busier stores.