When PHOENIX opened MediPAC in 2019, it was easy to see how the facility could deliver many benefits, not least by way of offering a hub and spoke solution to its owned chain, Rowlands Pharmacy.
Automated repeat dispensing is significantly more efficient than in branch assembly and the pharmacy teams at Rowlands were able to release time that was previously monopolised by the traditional dispensing process.
Recognising the value in automated dispensing, but with legislation not permitting us to deliver this to Numark members, we partnered with EMIS to develop a solution that would utilise the technology of MediPAC to fundamentally change the dispensing process for our member pharmacies.
Last month we were delighted to share our ambitions with you, when we introduced Golden Tote.
We are currently in our pilot phase to ensure Golden Tote is tested robustly across a number of community pharmacy settings. Our first pilot was Rowlands Pharmacy in Tenbury.
Pharmacist Manager Liz York talked to us about her experiences of introducing Golden Tote.
Liz joined Rowlands Pharmacy four and a half years ago, joining the team in October of 2015. The pharmacy is situated in a small rural town in the middle of a large farming community and dispenses on average 12-13,000 items per month. The team work tirelessly to ensure they offer the best possible service to their patients, something Liz holds close to her heart.
"I qualified as a pharmacist to take care of people"
Passionate about her role, Liz firmly believes that patients should be at the heart of community pharmacies. During her career, she has often felt frustrated at how the processes involved with dispensing have not moved on for decades. Liz has worked hard to seek solutions that will help free up the time involved with fulfilling prescriptions to enable her to spend more quality time with her patients.
“I qualified as a pharmacist to take care of people. My patients are the most important thing to me, supporting them is what motivates me to come into work each morning.
I’ve felt for many years that the dispensing process is cumbersome and simply not as efficient as it could be. My patients need and value the interaction of not only myself but also the whole pharmacy team. This isn’t always easy as time can be swallowed by twice a day deliveries, stock reconciliation and the processes involved in prescription assembly.
"I could absolutely see the benefits of Golden Tote"
“Implementing new processes is always a concern, particularly being the first to pilot Golden Tote. I could absolutely see the benefits however, and I have always been the type of person to try move forward with technologies if it helps my patients".
“I am blessed to be surrounded by an incredible team who are all really supportive, so whilst I was a little apprehensive over the use of barcode technology, I decided I’d give it a try”.
"Golden Tote was literally a life saver during COVID-19"
Golden Tote has taken many months of development to ensure we had a system that was intuitive enough to enable pharmacy teams to very quickly adapt to a new process. It’s a simple, ‘pick to prescription’ model which essentially means when the tote arrives, instead of the stock being put away in the traditional manner, it gets scanned directly into baskets, fulfilling prescriptions at patient level, eliminating the need for excess stock holding and providing safer more secure mechanisms for prescription fulfilment.
What’s more, Golden Tote sits on existing EMIS PMR systems so there’s no need for additional hardware which makes it a plug in
and play solution.
“As soon as the tote arrives, we move it directly to the dispensary bench. We simply scan the tote, print a set of labels that we attach to our prescription baskets and we’re off. It’s so easy to use and we’re able to scan directly from tote to basket until each individual’s prescription is complete."
“We are literally fulfilling multiple patient’s prescriptions, in the time it would take to reconcile and put away the stock on the dispensary shelves.”
COVID-19 really tested the system to its fullest as prescription volumes increased significantly and social distancing measures made it hugely challenging to ensure service levels were maintained.
“Golden Tote has been instrumental; the amount of prescriptions we were able to process were significantly higher than our previous dispensing model. I honestly don’t know how we’d have coped otherwise."
“I’ve had to rely on my team much more and I’ve been able to entrust them to use the system. It’s a little difficult at first to relinquish control but I can honestly say, I’ve never looked back."
“It’s been a joy to be able to reconnect with my patients once again; I have much more time to spend with them and once business finally gets back to normal, I hope to deliver a wider range of services and am excited at the thought of developing our front of house travel clinic."
“I’d definitely recommend Golden Tote to fellow contractors; I’ve been hugely impressed with how intuitive the system is and importantly allows me to deliver on what I trained to do; provide exceptional standards of care to my community.”