The different stages of the pharmacy automation process
Pharmacies are key players in public health, offering advice and quality care to their patients. Although this profession continues to evolve with broadened scope of practice and recognition, they are facing major challenges. They face, among other things, economic pressure, staff shortages, changing regulations and increasing demand.
In this context, automation is a solution (increasingly popular) that meets the needs of pharmacies. It allows for the efficient management of drug distribution, error reduction and improved productivity and quality of care.
However, it can be difficult to know how to embark on a pharmacy automation process. Many questions may arise: Where do I start? What should I do to ensure that I choose the system that best meets my needs? How do I secure my investment in the long term? …
In this article, some key considerations for the successful implementation of pharmacy automation will be presented.
The needs analysis is the first key step in the process of implementing a pharmacy automation system. It consists of evaluating the functionalities and features required to meet the pharmacy’s needs. This step involves assessing:
This analysis can be carried out by the pharmacists themselves or by consultants specialising in pharmacy automation. Involving pharmacy staff in the needs analysis process provides an in-depth understanding of current processes. And consequently facilitates identifying improvements that can be done through automation.
Once the requirements have been identified, it is time to start researching the automation solutions available on the market. A wide range of pharmacy automation systems are available, each with its own features and benefits. Here are some key factors to consider when researching automation solutions:
To obtain this information, pharmacies can approach the sales representatives of the various companies offering automation systems. It is also worth visiting a customer site to understand how automation works in context.
Automation systems can be a major investment for pharmacies. It is therefore important to have a solid financial plan. To do this, you need to:
The implementation of the automation solution is a crucial step in the automation process. The implementation time and some solution-specific steps may vary, but the general process includes:
It is important to note that the implementation of automation takes time and careful planning. Pharmacies must dedicate time and resources to ensure an effective implementation.
Monitoring the performance of an automated system is essential to maximise it. Often, automated systems collect a lot of data and provide reports for: the output, the number of replenishment stops, alarm-related downtime, latency between productions or system uptime.
In order to use this information in a relevant way, an operational dashboard must be set up. A person should be appointed to update and analyse the data in order to optimise system performance.
In conclusion, the addition of a pharmacy automation system is a project that can be divided into five main stages: analysis of needs, study of different solutions, creation of a financial plan, implementation of the system and finally its optimisation. In order for this project to be successful, a project manager must be chosen. He or she will be responsible for coordinating the various steps and setting the stage for ongoing successful use of the automation.