Rhoads Pharmacy Uses High Tech Pharmacy Robot on Main Street

Rhoads Pharmacy in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, is, like its creed, “where hometown is a philosophy, not just a destination”. Established in 1931 and re-christened Rhoads Pharmacy in 1953, the pharmacy has the distinction of also being a gift shop, marketplace, and gallery. Hence, the locals have come to think of it as a home away from home, and patients have been relying on its services for decades. Automatic Dispensing System (ADS) technology has been able to make things even better for current owner and pharmacist Dave Lutz, who took over ownership of the pharmacy with his wife, Jeanne, in 1973. Lutz has a large customer base of over 15,000 patients, and most of his staff (including four pharmacist technicians and ten support staff) has been with Rhoads for over 25 years. Since implementing the pharmacy robot (affectionately known as “Flo” to the staff) two years ago, Lutz says he and his staff’s relationship with patients has gotten even better. The robot is programmed to cap, photograph, count, and sort pills, thus acting—in some ways literally—as the hands of personnel. “We named our robot Florence because we wanted to use the nickname Flo. There can be low flow or high flow, but there’s got to be flow. And the flow of what this technology has been able to accomplish is definitely unprecedented, as far as it relates to our time management,” said Lutz. Automated Dispensing Maintains Accuracy in Counting Pills “Before Flo, on a typical workday, we were counting up to 12,000- 15,000 pills a day, which is a huge number,” says Lutz. “And it was all by hand. Now Flo does 65% of that. The time she’s freed up for the staff is just incredible. We can’t imagine not having the ADS technology now. It’s made all the difference.” “ADS is ‘third generation technology’, in my phrase”, says Lutz. “And by that, I mean that it does things that nothing else before it has done. There are pharmacy robots that don’t cap the prescriptions like Flo does, that don’t take photos of the prescription to ensure accuracy. This is the only technology that does all that. As a pharmacist, it has given me enormous peace of mind and made me feel better about the safety and accuracy of what we do, which is always, of course, our first priority. ” Ensuring correct pill counts is of paramount importance, as is making certain that prescriptions have been labeled and distributed correctly. The complexities of handling medications are, paradoxically, simplified in complex technology that is easy to learn and use. Pharmacy Staff has More Time to Develop Relationships with Patients “Our endeavor is to create a “hometown” environment, just like our logo,” says Lutz. “We want to make the community feel like they’re dealing with a friend. When it comes to talking about their health conditions and the medications they require, customers are very particular, and say they’re often very uncomfortable going somewhere else. They put their trust in me and are appreciative of my counseling and suggestions. ADS technology has made it possible for me to go out on the floor, to actually talk to them, because I don’t have to spend that time doing what the robot is able to do for us now.” The ADS system has enabled pharmacies to be much more than just a business where people come to pick up their medications. Now, it’s possible for them to better balance technical work that requires scrupulous attention to detail with essential, one-on-one communication with patients. Superhuman technology for a human profession “I like to say that the technology is superhuman”, says Lutz. “But at the same the ADS is something that lets the human aspects of being a pharmacist shine through. Every pharmacist should have access to this. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the responsible thing to do. In my book—and surely in my staff’s—ADS is the future of this industry.” ADS might indeed be considered a breakthrough in the industry, as the system is able to handle such high and diverse volumes of medications without cross-contamination, and multitask so effectively, safely, and accurately. Robots like Flo represent the changing face of the hometown pharmacy. The remarkable ways in which they’ve been able to integrate the most important aspects of the profession are only beginning to be understood. As this technology continues to improve and become affordable more pharmacists will begin to embrace ADS robotics. They will discover how it can help them be better at what they do and the horizons of the industry will begin to expand in ways they never have before. Published at: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=1761985&ca=Computers+and+Technology