Pharmacies offer Monitored Dosage System (MDS) services. Patients who are taking multiple medications, exhibit forgetfulness, and have physical disabilities such as impaired vision and restricted hand mobility, receive most of the benefits of MDS. The number of patients relying on MDS is expected to increase as the occurrence of medical conditions due to the aging population in developed countries increases. This situation provides the urge for pharmacies to adapt automation systems used by other industries to their processes. Packaging, labelling, and dispensing are some of the processes in pharmacies that use robotic tools to perform tasks.

By this, efficiency is increased as well as productivity. Pharmacists are freed up from tasks that can be accomplished by robots which give them additional time to provide patient care. Furthermore, medication errors that could pose negative risks to patients are also minimized.

Medication Management Robotics offers the best equipment to automate production of compliance aids in either pouches or blister trays. Our very own PouchPak, Pouch Inspectors, and Fair Value Blisters when used in operation will surely produce compliance aids in a fast, accurate, and safe manner.

Compliance aids are packs of solid oral medicines placed in separate compartments. These packs are also equipped with the schedule of administration. Thus, patients are provided with adequate assistance in taking their medicines at the prescribed time. Furthermore, the patient’s risk of missing a dose of medication is reduced, so as taking incorrect dosage. However, it should be noted that there are several medication formulations that are not suitable for MDS such as:

  • Hygroscopic drug products
  • Drugs that may cause skin reactions
  • Cytotoxic drug products
  • Drugs that are required to be stored at low temperatures
  • Drug forms that are unstable
  • Drugs to be administered only “as needed”

Manual production of compliance aids is labour intensive which results in higher cost rather than profit. In fact, the cost of manual production of compliance aids per patient is twice that of using automation systems.

The pharmacy staff does the manual deblistering and filling of medicines under close supervision of a pharmacist. This is to ensure that correct medicine is placed in each compartment after it has been removed from its original packaging. Labels containing patient’s name, time and date of administration, drug strength, and other important information will then be generated. Details found on the label should be ensured by the pharmacist to be clear and legible for patient’s sake. On top of this, another round of checking must be done which involves checking of the prescription against the label of the compliance aid prior to distribution to patients for safety purposes.

The application of automation systems to perform tasks in pharmacies is making positive impacts towards reduction of cost. This effect is also evident in other industries that use robots to complete tasks with minimal human involvement such as fixing of assemblies, control systems, and inspection, to name a few. On another note, the use of equipment offered by Medication Management Robotics reduces pharmacy staff time for the production of compliance aids by 80%.

Medication Management Robotics provides pharmacy automation systems for the production of compliance aids in the form of pouches through following sequence:

  1. Drugs in tablet or capsule forms will be removed from the original packaging using a de-blistering machine.
  2. Afterwards, they will be loaded to canisters of PouchPak, a dispensing robot producing pouches. Canister-based machines provide maximum accuracy in dispensing as they are calibrated based on the size of the tablet or capsule.
  3. Medicines inside the canister will be photographed and checked simultaneously prior to release to pouches for greater assurance that correct medicine will be dispensed.
  4. Pouch inspector will verify further if medicines inside the pouches are correct based on count, colour, and size using the Pouch Inspection Software.
  5. The Cut & Roll machine will separate the strips of pouches per patient, per intake time, or per location.
  6. Pouch inspector will verify further if medicines inside the pouches are correct based on count, colour, and size using the Pouch Inspection Software.
  7. The Cut & Roll machine will separate the strips of pouches per patient, per intake time, or per location.
  8. Lastly, the separated strips will be boxed to which another label containing all patient’s information will be attached.

As a result of the combined cost of equipment and labor, production cost of compliance aids is reduced by 50%.

Manual preparation and checking of a single monitored dosage system take 20 – 30 minutes. Production of multiple compliance aids at this rate is indeed a waste of time. During this period, 40 – 60 single drug items could have been dispensed. Also, both pharmacy staff and pharmacists could have attended other medicine-related activities which would give patients greater benefit.

Considering investing in automation systems in pharmacy is a great idea. It would seem costly at a first glance, but the return on investment is high as more volume of compliance aids would be produced. Furthermore, this is more cost-efficient than providing relevant training on a regular basis to staff involved for the safe supply of compliance aids.

For other equipment you might want to purchase for pharmacy automation, do not hesitate to contact us.

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