With the sudden rise in the demand for medicines and other healthcare products due to the pandemic, the automated packaging machines enable social distancing capabilities, touch-free services, efficiency, and improved patient adherence.
COVID-19 has turned out to be the most significant milestone towards the digitization of the healthcare industry. With the sudden outbreak of the pandemic – pharmacies, hospitals, and other facilities have had to address multiple challenges at a magnitude never witnessed before. As cases skyrocketed, healthcare facilities had to adapt quickly at the time when the pools of money, labor, and resources continuously contracted. Pharmacies and healthcare were faced with a new reality and the challenges faced in the fight with this pandemic will help them to be increasingly prepared for the next one.
Community pharmacies are essential businesses, as they remain on the frontlines of public health, serving as the direct point of access for all the patients. Pharmacists seek new strategies to navigate the pandemic, as it is continuously altering how businesses function in their daily lives. Fortunately, with the latest technologies and packaging automation, there are a host of new opportunities for pharmacies to leverage that will benefit patients and enhance their operational efficiency.
Pharmacies must realize the benefits of packaging automation to be ready for the pandemic:
Maintain social distance
Automated packaging allows pharmacies and their patients to adhere to the social distancing guidelines. As patients may be scared of making multiple trips to their pharmacy each month due to the existing risks, packaging automation can compile all the medications in one place and maintain them better.
Increase efficiency and reduce costs
Automated packaging is a cost-effective way for the healthcare industry to get back on their feet after experiencing lower revenues and higher operating costs from the pandemic. With more customers using a packaged multi-dose medication comes increased pharmacy Star ratings, improved adherence, and decreased Direct and Indirect Remuneration (“DIR”) Fee pullbacks.
Improve patient adherence using medication synchronization
While COVID-19 is currently the most relevant topic, the lack of medication non-adherence is extremely severe as it continues to grow. Nearly 23% of the US population considers three or more medications per day, with about 12% taking five or more per day. In various developed countries, adherence among patients suffering from chronic disease averages about 50%, costing the US healthcare system about $300 billion each year.
The industry has already seen, and will continue to witness worsening adherence due to various related factors during this pandemic and the next one. An avoidance of care, reduced financial resources, medication shortages, pharmacy closures, and contaminations in the drug supply is just some significant ways that COVID-19 may affect patient adherence.
Medication synchronization is crucial for pharmacies to tackle the ongoing problem of medication adherence. Also, enabling contactless packaging and verification is crucial.
With the traditional manual medication packaging methods, pharmacists are in contact with hundreds of prescriptions every day. In today’s scenario, contactless operation is essential to reduce the spread of germs. Pouch Verification Machines analyze the color, shape, size, and number of each medication in every pouch accurately, quickly, and risk-free.
In addition to mitigating risk and hands-on interaction with medications, automation cuts down the time needed to manually dispense and check each prescription. Research by The Journal of the American Pharmacist Association indicated that pharmacists could save over 46.5 minutes for 100 prescriptions filled than the older count and pour method. Automation not just saves time but reduces the risk of the infection spreading through contact.