Murrays located within the West Midlands has found an extremely cost-effective solution to delivering a large number of compliance aids to its customers by using automation at a hub and spoke location.
As Duncan Murray, Managing Director of the Murrays group , says: “We have to produce compliance aids even though no one pays us for this activity. So we decided to find the most cost-effective way of doing this.”
For Murrays, this cost-effective solution is an AutoPouch™ Robot from Medication Management Solutions. Murrays purchased an AP405 model of the AutoPouch™ Robot in 2012 and has been producing compliance aids via the robot since January 2013.
The AP405 produces pouches for a customer as an alternative to blister trays: each pouch is equivalent to a single cell on a blister tray. The pouches are produced one by one on a roll, and this roll is equivalent to a prescription for either a week or a month.
“Our customers love the pouch,” says Aimee Muir, a Dispensing Technician at the Ronkswood branch of Murrays. “They find them easy to use and compact. If they want to go out for the day they just tear a few off and it means they do not need to carry a blister tray”
The AP405 robot is located in an Internet pharmacy in the West Midlands and produces compliance aids for the Murrays group.
“We offer services to the rest of the Murrays group,” says Chris Walton a Pharmacist at Murrays’ Internet pharmacy. “This service has been adopted across the group and we’ve centralised the production of the pouches. The pharmacy branches obtain the prescriptions and we produce the pouches for them.”
This service now supports over half of the Murrays group and it helps the branch staff to concentrate on other activities.
“We have found a number of advantages at the branch, apart from the obvious time saving for the team,” says Patrick Barnham, a Pharmacist at Murrays in Bridgnorth. “Hospitals ring us less, with patients on pouches, as they are clear about what they are on. We found that changes are easier because the documentation is clearer and customers can’t lose it.”
Murrays take the view that pouches are a choice for the customer and always consult with them first. Moving people from a blister tray to a pouch takes a little time and the pouch is not for all customers.
“We have found that over half of our customers have taken to the pouch without any difficulty,” says Aimee Muir. “The others either have conditions where change is difficult or have a support system that is unwilling to look at something new. We have a policy where all new customers go on pouches.”
With this level of adoption the Internet pharmacy has become an important part of Murrays group in just twelve months, supporting a growing number of branches and with still only two members of staff.
“With all the pressures on pharmacies over the last few years,” maintains Duncan Murray, “driving down costs for the items we are not paid to do is a no brainer for me. Moving to automation and, in this case pouches, is a long-term strategy that positions Murrays for future changes to pharmacy income.”
Pouches are commonplace across the rest of Europe – especially in Germany and France, which both have ageing populations and an increasing drug volume like the UK.
With more installations and more customers than any other provider, Medication Management Solutions are the leading company in the UK selling and supporting Pouch Dispensing Robots.