Ask any pharmacist what the most common problem among patients is, and you will often hear the same word -- adherence. Adherence is a prickly subject for a wide variety of reasons. For many patients, taking several meds several times a day is tedious, and remembering to take a specific prescription at a certain day and time is difficult.
North Star Pharmacy and Infusion in Cheyenne, WY recognizes that many patients can improve their adherence with a little help.
“Being able to individualize [patient] times to fit into their schedule has increased their adherence & confidence knowing that they are taking the medications,” at the correct time, says Scot Schmidt, owner of North Star Pharmacy. If a patient is planning a day out, they can easily tear off the correct pouch and take it on the go, he adds.
Boosting Patients’ Confidence
Patients with chronic diseases are often overwhelmed with the number of prescriptions they take a month. With the convenience pouches produced by the pharmacy’s RapidPakRx, each individual pouch is labeled with the date and time the medication needs to be passed. Now, patients don’t need to worry about organizing pills into a pill holder, and they “appreciate the fact that they're not taking 15 to 20 pill bottles on a trip, or if they want to go bowling, they're only taking [one] pouch that fits into their schedule,” says Schmidt.
Easing Technicians’ Workload
Not only is the RapidPakRx making patients’ lives easier, it’s also helping busy technicians to maximize their impact and productivity Schmidt explains.
“I chose the RapidPakRx because of the simplicity of it,” he says. “I mean, 20 cartidges in our machine, universal NDCs, you can individualize times from start to finish, 10 minutes to get a box completed,” says Schmidt, “It was a no brainer.”
As many technicians know, the workload associated with a large adherence packaging program can be overwhelming. Strip packaging automation, like the RapidPakRx, has made the process faster and simpler.
“The way I feel about the RapidPakRx is that it is easier to use and anybody that is not tech savvy can still do it, because it has an easy step-by-step process for all of it,” says Britney, lead pharmacy technician at North Star Pharmacy.
Britney says that she likes the RapidPakRx’s universal cartridges, that allow her to effortlessly load any NDC into the system. The universal cartridges remove the hassle of purchasing and replacing obsolete canisters to fit each NDC. “If we run out of one [NDC], we can change it and it won't affect it at all and we won't have to remove the cartridge and repack it and restart the whole thing all over again,” says Britney.
“The previous machine that we had limited us to certain NDC-specific canisters and if our manufacturer or wholesalers changed that NDC, then we had a lag in at least two to three weeks to get a new canister that was NDC specific,” Schmidt says. “So if you didn't have that NDC, then you're putting in an STS tray and it just makes it more labor intensive. And so you're essentially putting a pill in slot 1, 17, 56, 84 whatever it took to get that medication into that package. So with the RapidPakRx, you don't have to do that and it's amazing. It's awesome. And you can do half tablets in this machine without having to calibrate a whole new canister.”
The RapidPakRx utilizes software to accurately and efficiently pack each patient’s monthly medication cycle. It also uses an integrated vision machine that enables pharmacists to check the accuracy of each pouch, reducing the time it takes to inspect each prescription. The RapidPakRx has, “increased our confidence in making sure [prescriptions] are done correctly and accurately,” says Schmidt.
Small Size is a Good Fit for North Star
“The most attractive thing about the [RapidPakRx] is the fact that it was smaller, compact and so user-friendly that any one of us can use it,” says Schmidt, adding that the RapidPakRx helps North Star increase filling capacity, and boost adherence among their patients.
“The RapidPakRx system, what it does really well is functionality,” he says. “It's just so easy to use. It makes everything look super nice and professional when it comes through the strips. We really like how it adjusts [the pouch length] so you're not using as many pouches as we were before. That helps with the patients and not as confusing to see if there's multiple pouches for their morning dose or afternoon dose or evening dose.”
They Did the Math
The RapidPakRx has helped North Star increase efficiency in multiple ways, from saving on consumables, saving pharmacist time and saving technician time, Schmidt says. With the pharmacy’s previous strip packaging automation, a “good day” meant packaging 8-10 patients. Today, Schmidt says the pharmacy can package 30-40 patients per day.
“We do spend a lot less time on pharmacist time and technician time to do this. And the nice thing too about the RapidPakRx with the all-in-one vision inspection, you've got that picture that it automatically takes so that you can look at the strips right then and there on the spot, where beforehand, it was a separate machine,” Schmidt says. “So we calculated it over time. The estimated cost per patient was probably with our previous machine, $11 to $12 more expensive to dispense because of the time involved versus the RapidPakRx, which is maybe a $1.25 so it’s almost the equivalent of putting, just regular pills into a bottle and labeling that bottle and getting it out the door.”
If you would like to learn more about how the RapidPakRx can help your pharmacy team spend less time packaging and more time with patients, please visit our website, or call one of our representatives at (877) 365-2369.