Pushing through the Pandemic: The Safety of Blister Card Automation for Patients and Pharmacists

The COVID-19 era has presented challenges unlike any other in history. For many of us, the thought of a world without the need for social distancing and mask-wearing seems like a distant memory. Yet, there are hopeful signs that a return to a “future normal” is on the way. More people are receiving their vaccinations and therapeutic treatments have improved across the board, and there’s also been an important increase in awareness that the simple act of touching objects can lead to the spread of disease. So, it’s no surprise that no-contact pick-up, curbside delivery, and payment have become common — If it’s good for filling an Uber Eats order, it’s even better for filling prescriptions. In the pharmacy world, many are wondering about the safety of blister card automation for patients and pharmacists, and we’re glad to say it’s one of the safest packaging solutions available.

Hands-Free Medication Packaging

Fear of virus transmission is enough for most of us to think twice about taking our hands out of our pockets, much less picking up a potentially contaminated object, like a prescription bottle. In that sense, SynMed® products and pharmacy systems keep the risks to a minimum, especially when it comes to hands-free medication packaging like multi-dose blister cards.

The manual approach may still have its adherents, given its familiarity with patients and pharmacy techs alike, but moving on and upgrading only increases the chances of gaining business, not losing it. There’s a place for doing a portion of prescription filling by hand, but there are several “win-wins” to consider in getting out of that comfort zone. 

Safe Prescription Packaging

According to Healthmart,  pharmacies manually filling 250 or more prescriptions per day average four errors per day. Also concerning is the frequency of touching medications in the transfer from vial to blister—as well as time pills spend in the open-air— exposed to airborne aerosols awaiting inspection.SynMed® virtually eliminates the occurrence of both, reducing touches to negligible amounts.

Once the universal canister system is properly loaded, a robotic arm automatically performs the selection and placement of medications into the multi-dose blister card at a rate of 55 doses per minute. At that pace, a single operator can complete up to 45 cards per hour. Above all, the system is 99.98% accurate, simplifying an otherwise complicated and time-consuming process.

Improving Medication Adherence Rates

With a SynMed® system, multi-dose blister cards can be color-coded with the name of each patient printed in bold, large font print, and further customized with pictograms and images. That gives patients the ability to get a stronger grip on what they take and when, raising their chances of taking the right prescribed dose to 97 percent of the time versus 61 percent for non-blister pack users – drastically improving medication adherence rates.

Perhaps even more importantly, taking daily medications via multi-dose blister cards eliminates the guesswork from the equation. People can be honest with their doctors about staying current with their regimens; in turn, doctors can adjust needed changes in dosage without the risk of overprescribing. Local pharmacies enjoy the advantages of a stronger financial base and a healthier community at large. 

Improving Patient Outcomes

SynMed® multi-dose blister cards provide the means to improve preparation and dispensing in adherence with morning, noon, nighttime, and bedtime administration on a daily basis. In the hands of healthcare providers, one package can replace as many as 16 standard medication vials, requiring only a two-touch process to go from prescription container to dosage cup. This not only saves time at the med-pass stage in short- and long-term healthcare facilities, but also promises a more secure and safe delivery method over time. A lot less can go wrong when the packaging itself becomes a key factor in compliance with any medication therapy management (MTM) program.

Preventative Wellness Measures

There’s a market out there for preventative wellness measures, and it’s naturally gaining strength as the country begins to emerge from the COVID-19 cloud. At SynMed®, we see one bright silver lining in using automated multi-dose blister card packaging technology for non-prescription dietary supplements, daily vitamins, and other untouched “immunity” boosters. In the absence of onsite packaging by the national chains, local independent retail pharmacies have the opportunity to fill the void with new and inventive utilizations. Promoting “touchless” packaging via SSynMed® automation can be a big advantage as customers look for methods to lower their risk of transmission while taking steps to reinforce and strengthen their immune systems. 

SynMed® automation for multi-dose blister-packaging doesn’t tire, make mistakes in concentration, or run up labor costs. And while anxiety over the pandemic isn’t likely to subside completely over the next few months, there’s comfort in knowing that SynMed® has the automated, multi-dose blister card packaging resources to make the best of it for patients and pharmacists alike.

To inquire about a SynMed® system for your pharmacy, contact our team by dialing 450-670-7868.