Red River Pharmacy has been serving the Texarkana community since 1997. Its mission is to simplify the medication process by providing hassle-free medication management solutions for patients.
Originally founded as a nuclear pharmacy, Red River expanded rapidly, opening another location in Texas and two in Arkansas over the next 15 years, and adding compounding, home infusion and long-term care (LTC) services.
“We've been in long-term care for about 22 years and we’re most known for being an independent pharmacy,” says Stacy Cody, Red River pharmacist and Chief Operating Officer. “There's not a lot of that in the long-term care space or in home infusion. So, we want to have those personal relationships with our customers, just like they would have in a retail setting. One of our mottos on the LTC side is that we're taking care of your patients with our grandparents in mind.”
With Growth Comes Challenges
Stacy Cody talks about the benefits of using the RapidPak in his practice.
Yet despite Red River’s rapid growth and caring reputation, Cody says there were many challenges, including trying to offer compliance packaging. One of the pharmacy’s assisted living facility clients was going to move to another pharmacy provider if Red River didn’t offer packaging, Cody said.
“When getting into this space of using multi-dose packaging, our challenges were based on using two different, manual packaging systems. The multi-dose cards were so cumbersome, requiring extra time to do double entry into our system,” Cody recalls. “We knew we had to go with an automated system that would streamline our process in taking care of our patients.”
“Having the compliance packaging available to our customers, we've been not only able to retain customers but get new customers. When we get an assisted living facility to come on that's desiring this, we may get 30 to 50 new patients at one time, which is impactful for us.”
Cody said he began attending tradeshows with an eye for automation technology, to see what solutions might work for his situation. He was familiar with RxSafe from the eight years he’d previously spent in retail pharmacy.
“We did our due diligence and learning about the different ones,” Cody says. “I personally felt like that RapidPakRx was a step above. So, as I did more investigating to compare all those things … we decided to make the decision for RapidPakRx based on the industry standard we thought they set and raised.”
Automation was a “Game Changer”
Before the RapidPakRx, Red River was only able to offer traditional, card-based compliance packaging to its LTC customers. That limitation hindered the pharmacy’s ability to grow its patient base.
RapidPakRx strip packaging machine at Red River Pharmacy (photo courtesy of the Red River Pharmacy website)
“The RapidPakRx has changed our business for Red River because it gives our marketers the opportunity to go in and give a facility options, and that's what they want,” explains Cody. “This option is great for them because of their staff and the ease of getting medications to their patients and that has been a game changer for us and our marketers.”
30-50 New Patients at One Time
Because the automation is designed to quickly and accurately produce a sought-after product, Cody says strip packaging has helped Red River to maintain customers it would have lost, but also increase LTC clients.
“Having the compliance packaging available to our customers, we've been not only able to retain customers but get new customers. When we get an assisted living facility to come on that's desiring this, we may get 30 to 50 new patients at one time, which is impactful for us,” Cody says. “So, we've seen improvement in retention and our greatest growth is adding facilities because now they're seeing this product, and others are talking about this type of packaging system.”
Employees Liked the Results
The pharmacy team at Red River Pharmacy in Tyler, Texas
Not only did Red River’s LTC customers and patients like the pouch packaging of their meds, but the pharmacy’s staff also changed their attitude about compliance packaging, Cody says.
“The strip packaging system has transformed our pharmacy in just the attitude of our employees, because the other systems we have used before were so cumbersome and difficult, they weren't interested in new customers using that system,” says Cody. “Now with RapidPakRx, when we say we have new assisted living facilities coming on that are going to use the strip packaging, it's a delight just like getting any other new business.”
Pharmacist Inspection Time Cut from 3 Days to 3 Hours
We asked Cody what the top impacts have been since adding strip packaging automation to his pharmacy.
“I would say the top impacts that we've had with using RapidPakRx is, Number One, profitability, because we've been able to grow our business. At one point we were kind of stalemated until we got a better process. Second, I would say it did change our workflow in that we can get the most out of our staff and not having them bogged down. What might have taken them three days to do, now they can accurately, visually inspect the medications in three hours, not over three days.
The Motivation to Innovate
Cody said, before buying pharmacy automation, he sat down with his partner and discussed future plans with respect to technology.
“The greatest motivation for us considering RapidPakRx at the time was simply this: are we going to be ahead of the curve in the industry? Or, are we going to be behind the curve?” Cody asked. “We want to be a leader in everything we do as Red River. This RapidPakRx gave us the ability to set the standard for packaging for our assisted living patients in our area.”