How Automation Will Help Your Pharmacy Staffing Issues

SynMed installed

COVID-19 has hit workers of the medical and pharmaceutical world hard. Overworked, understaffed, and less able to connect with their communities, hospitals and pharmacies are looking for ways to solve their  staffing issues. The problems are pushing nurses, technicians and doctors towards burnout, while the demand for medication and treatment is only bound to increase as the population ages: the youngest Baby Boomers are almost 60 (and make up more than 20% of the population). 

At Synergy Medical, we’re confident that automation is the most efficient way to solve your pharmacy staffing challenges. Retail pharmacies, long-term care pharmacies, and central fill operations can offset increased stress and workload by automating single and multi-dose blister card packaging processes. SynMed technologyoffers up to 15x increased production speed and inimitable accuracy. Whatever your current production volume, there is an option to make filling blister packs more secure and efficient.  You can determine which of the Assist, the XF, or the ULTRA fits your pharmacy here.

Because SynMed’s priorities include helping pharmacies solve their staffing issues, we thought we’d examine how automation accomplishes exactly that. 

Automation Reduces Repetitive Tasks

Automating repetitive tasks is the best way to decrease strain on your staff. Far from the mid-century fear of “robots replacing workers”, your employees will be an integral part of overseeing your business.  SynMed believes the expansion of your business largely depends on freeing your staff from the manual packaging process. By reducing the time spent on manual filling, they can put their energies towards expanding your pharmacy in other ways.

Technicians are vital for running and maintaining the SynMed system and for dialing in the specific needs of your pharmacy; one operator per XF, two per ULTRA. When you purchase a SynMed machine, our team proceeds with our thorough implementation process, which includes a needs assessment, layout planning, installation, calibration, and testing. Once your SynMed is installed, our team will train your staff for five days; by the end of week one, you will be fully operational with SynMed and equipped with support material.

From here, your trained staff will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of your unit, reinforcing job security while optimizing the error-prone process of manually filling blister packs. Technicians aim for an error rate of 0%; automation is the most effective, most efficient way to approach 100% accuracy. Repetitive tasks should be automated whenever possible, due to the risk of burnout and (by hour 6 or 7) an exponentially increasing risk of human error.

We know automation will make a noticeable difference to both your bottom line and to your employees’ satisfaction. If anything, adding an automation system to your pharmacy benefits both the business model and the people employed within it. 

There are a number of duties automation can’t replace:

  • Face-to-face interactions with patients
  • Customer service
  • Partnership development
  • COVID vaccine and booster injections
  • Marketing strategies for retention and expansion
  • Input information and manage data banks
  • Inventory management and device-loading
  • Device maintenance and troubleshooting

Your Staff is Key to Expanding Your Pharmacy

Your pharmacy’s biggest source of untapped growth potential is your staff! The less time they spend manually filling prescriptions, the more face time they get with clients. For retail  pharmacies, building relationships is the cornerstone of your business. We know you want more face-time with your patients and less time making them wait for their prescriptions. Automation is the key to unlocking that kind of one-on-one service.

With long-term care pharmacies , the effects of automation are more pronounced. A direct relationship with a long-term care pharmacy with automated blister card packaging leads to fewer wasted pills, a shorter wait for medication, and a more focused, less stressed team of nurses, pharmacists and technicians. Plus, pharmacies using automation are able to offer these facilities more value-add services such as vaccine administration.

As your enterprise expands, you’ll need an adherence solution that scales. Automation can free your staff to focus their energies on outreach, sales, and client relationships. 

Automation Will Fight Staff Burnout in 2022

According to an NBC report, technicians are feeling the squeeze on both sides of the equation. It seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to manually fill prescriptions and provide patients fast, quality service. Packaging faster increases the odds of making an error; packaging slower risks the ire of impatient patients (as described in the linked article) and the overall profitability of the pharmacy.

The stress and heightened responsibility are causing pharmacy technicians to burn out in record numbers. The pay seems woefully inadequate for elevated pressure, and the consequences for making mistakes can be disastrous. Errors from overwork don’t just damage a pharmacy’s reputation; they can have potentially disastrous (even fatal) ramifications for patients.

To reiterate: the way to truly free your staff from that cycle is to automate the repetitive elements of their jobs. Automation does not threaten jobs — it secures them. Your technicians will learn a hyper-specialized set of skills. Automation will bring a sense of balance to the pay/responsibility relationship so your technicians feel more valued and less stressed. If you’re facing an exodus of employees, automation might be the best way to end it. Lower stress and higher staff satisfaction will make the gains in productivity seem like a bonus.  

Automation Will Help Solve Your Staffing Issues

Whether you lead a small staff or oversee large teams, SynMed’s revolutionary equipment will enhance their workplace experience. We offer three tiers of automation with the Assist, the XF, and the ULTRA. Your pharmacy’s size will determine which option makes the most sense to purchase and our representatives are prepared to help you determine the right fit. If you’re curious about how adding automation might increase your bottom line, check out our easy-to-use pharmacy automation labour savings calculator by clicking here.

By choosing automation, you can optimize the packaging, labeling, and administrative processes that eat away at your staff’s productivity and your pharmacy’s bottom line. While the automated system handles most of the heavy lifting, your staff is free to apply their skills to your growing business in other ways. Partnering with SynMed will augment your pharmacy and your workplace. Create a dynamic environment that benefits your bottom line and the people who contribute to it, while positioning yourself at the forefront of technological innovation.