Robot-handTechnology breakthroughs supporting Pharmacy is more and more common news. We were asked to take part in a recent article on the C+D Website that focused on how technology could be and is supporting pharmacy.

MMS were quoted in the section on compliance aid production.

What they do: Making up monitored dosage system (MDS) trays can feel like a robotic task. So it’s perhaps no surprise that technology has come along to assume the burden. Medication Management Solutions is one of the companies producing these robots.They can be installed in the pharmacy to sort medication into the company’s specially designed pouch compliance aids.

The benefits: Medication Management Solutions’ robots can make up a month’s prescription within three minutes – a task that could take up to 30 minutes manually. Company director Andy Beesley cites these time savings as a clear benefit. “There are a huge number of pharmacy staff that are involved in production of compliance aids on a daily basis, stood in front of workbenches and working away filling trays,” Mr Beesley explains. The advantages have made these robots “very popular on the continent”, Mr Beesley says. “In France, there are more than 400 machines doing this sort of activity, and we’re sort of starting to get there in the UK,” he says.

A threat to pharmacy jobs? Mr Beesley understands fears over robots replacing jobs. “Any change is threatening. And often what we find when we’re talking to people is there is a misunderstanding of what it does,” Mr Beesley says. The company stresses that no machine is infallible and a human will still need to make checks. Instead of replacing staff, Mr Beesley believes these robots will simply enable pharmacy teams to perform wider roles, while coping with rising dispensing volumes. “You want pharmacists focused on dealing with pharmacy customers, giving advice and helping people to stay healthier,” Mr Beesley adds. “I think that’s potentially where pharmacy’s future is, and [the sector] doesn’t want to employ a further 10 per cent of staff.”

 

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