Pharmacist takes on PillPack, grows business with pharmacy automation

Like most pharmacies, Diket’s Professional Drugs in Laurel, MS, is always on the lookout for new ways to ensure that patients take their prescriptions properly.

So, for pharmacist and owner Trey Crawford, adherence has been top-of-mind for many years. However, when Amazon purchased PillPack last year, he knew it was time to step up his adherence program.

“Really, in the last couple of years we started getting a lot of transfers to PillPack,” Crawford says. “PillPack was bought by Amazon and we all know that Amazon is a real big player in the United States, and if you really want to compete with that giant, you have to be able to offer that for your patients so that you don't lose them. So I started looking for new and innovative ways to make sure that we offered that, and that's where RapidPakRx™ came in.”

Diket Drugs_Trey Crawford Updated

 

Sync patients were key

Crawford also had a thriving medication synchronization program, but despite his best efforts, many of his sync patients weren’t taking their meds on time.

“When we looked at our Star ratings, we were seeing we were not where we wanted to be, and we saw adherence packaging as a way to get our adherence numbers where they should be,” Crawford recalls. “That led me to the decision to buy an adherence packaging machine.”

Crawford says he thoroughly researched all of the strip packaging automation solutions on the market. One benefit of the RapidPakRx that he found compelling is the system’s automatic, dynamic, variable pouch length. That means the individual pouches in each strip automatically “grow” or “shrink” to accommodate the size and number of pills inside. Variable packaging means shorter strips, fewer pouches, less wasted paper, smaller boxes, and happier patients.

“With RapidPakRx you don't have to worry if the pouch is big enough for the patient [med pass]. You can fit just about anything inside of one pouch,” Crawford explains. “That way it decreases the amount of doses that the patient has to look at.”

Universal cartridges are a hit

Another RapidPakRx benefit that Crawford enjoys is the system’s 20 “smart,” bulk-loaded universal cartridges, which can dispense any oral solid medication such as gel caps, half tabs, capsules, tablets, new generics, supplements, vitamins — even OTC medications — without calibration.

Crawford remembers using older technology, and having to fill NDC-specific cassettes, which become obsolete every time a new generic is released. Other competing strip packaging systems also require technicians to use an ‘exceptions’ tray, which has to be filled by hand, when you don’t have the proper cassette.

“There are no more trays that you have to load. No more universal cells. No more sending things off to get to another cell because the NDC is incorrect,” Crawford says. With RapidPakRx, “You have cartridges that you just pour the meds in, and it makes life so much easier than what it used to be.”

‘Unbelievable’ accuracy and speed

In addition to saving technician time, the RapidPakRx also makes final inspection easy on the pharmacist, Crawford says.

“The RapidPakRx has also improved our accuracy and speed. Now, we are around 99.9% accurate, when it gets to us as a pharmacist for final verification,” Crawford says. “The speed of the RapidPakRx is unbelievable. We've done more than 50 adherence patients in one day, and I don't know the number where we stop. I think we could get over a hundred pretty easily in one day.”

Happy patients, larger market

Patient response to Diket’s strip packaging service has been tremendous, Crawford says. It has even helped him expand his market.

“As far as patient outcomes and how they've improved, they've improved drastically. We started adherence packaging in December of 2017,” Crawford observes. “We have grown that, now, to around 380 patients.”

“In addition, since we bought the RapidPakRx machine, we've been able to increase our trade area. We go as far as 50 miles to deliver prescriptions,” he continues. “So if we can get them synchronized and get them in an adherence packaging system, then we just pick the day and we deliver it to them each and every month.”

Considering strip packaging?

If you’re considering an adherence program at your pharmacy, Crawford says it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

“To every pharmacy owner out there that's considering strip packaging: you really need to do it. You really need to pull the trigger. You've got to do something in our industry today, as independent pharmacy owners, to make yourself different,” Crawford says. “I'm recommending RapidPakRx because I've seen every product that's out there and it's just far superior to anything that's in our industry today.”

Want to see if RapidPakRx is a fit for your pharmacy? Be sure to visit us at PioneerRx Connect, May 31-June 1, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. RxSafe's booth is #306-308. Can’t make it to the tradeshow? Visit our strip packaging product page, or call (877) 960-3236 now to speak with an automation expert.

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