AUM Pharmacy in Anaheim, CA, is known for solving patient problems, says Nilesh Patolia, pharmacist & owner.
“Patients recommend us because we like to figure out how to help them find coverage, or we will talk to their doctor and find the medication that is covered under their insurance,” Patolia says. “We'll talk to the insurance companies, and make sure that at the end of the day they are going to get something that is going to be treating their condition.”
AUM’s “can-do” attitude is helpful to the pharmacy’s customers, many of whom are low-income seniors who take more medications than the average person. Patolia knew they could benefit from adherence packaging.
He started an adherence program nearly 8 years ago, first with blister cards, and then moved up to a competitor’s strip packaging system, but struggled to make his adherence program work. Then he heard about RapidPakRx™.
“Before we brought in the RapidPakRx, we used another packaging system and the main issue with that one was the labor and the time involved in getting product completed,” Patolia explains. “It just took a really long time and our techs were spending most of their day doing packaging and weren't able to complete their other tasks.”
Overcoming initial skepticism
Patolia is no stranger to automation (in addition to his first strip packaging system, he owns an RxSafe 1800 as well as an Eyecon pill counter), but he was still skeptical the RapidPakRx could help him grow his adherence program.
“We have an RxSafe and one of the reps was letting me know that they have a new product on the market that can complete a packaging job in about 10 minutes,” Patolia recalls. “I didn't really believe them but after watching the videos and going through the material, I realized that this could be something that would save me a lot of time and I could actually focus on synchronization and packaging again.”
One benefit that Patolia found compelling is that RapidPakRx runs 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, etc. — without calibration.
“The one thing that made the RapidPakRx most attractive was that the cartridges are universal for all tablets,” Patolia says. “Previously, we had to worry about getting new canisters or changing out parts for it to make it work, but with the RapidPakRx, you just have a couple sizes of canisters and it works for any tablet that you have.”
Built-in vision inspection slashes pharmacist time
Patolia also said the RapidPakRx’s built-in machine vision inspection has cut pharmacist inspection time by 90 percent or more. In the past, Nilesh and other pharmacists at AUM were inspecting completed pouches by hand.
“As the machine is filling the pack, it's also taking photos of all the completed packages so the pharmacist just has to go to one screen and they are able to see all the AM packs on one screen, all the PM packs on one screen,” Patolia says. “Now, a check can be completed in 60 seconds versus before, taking maybe 10-15 minutes going through a 90-day pack.”
The time savings don’t stop there, however. Patolia says the RapidPakRx also is freeing up time for his pharmacy technicians.
“With the RapidPakRx, I have one technician who does the packaging for us. Previously, with the other system, she was working full time with packaging,” Patolia says. “Now with the RapidPakRx, since it's so fast, it's freed up a lot of resources in terms of time, so she helps me with a lot of other things that I need done in the pharmacy that are really important as well.”
Growing happier, healthier patient base
Patolia says his patients love the new adherence packaging product, and he has big plans to grow the business with new adherence patients.
“Patients are telling me that it's really changed the way that they manage their medications. Before, they would be juggling eight, ten ... I had one patient taking 20 different medications and after packaging, they say that they don't have to worry about it, it's not at the forefront of their mind,” he says. “It's something that's always ready to go, so they definitely appreciate the ease that it’s brought to their lives.”
“Currently we have about 200 adherence patients, and we're planning on expanding that rapidly now that we have the RapidPakRx,” Patolia adds. “Our goal in the next year would be maybe 300-400 patients.”
Time is money
“I’d say the top three impacts of adding the RapidPakRx to a pharmacy are saving time, saving time and saving time,” Patolia says. “It's been tremendous how much time we have saved with the RapidPakRx and how many resources it's freed up for our technicians.”
Patolia has also noticed an increase in patient retention and adherence, adding up to improved revenue at AUM.
“The RapidPakRx definitely increases adherence because now that they are on a schedule, the patients know when they are running out, and we know when they're running out so we can manage their refills,” he explains. “We can work with their doctors so they are picking up the medications 12 times a year versus before, it may just be eight or nine times a year.”
Want to see if RapidPakRx is a fit for your pharmacy? Be sure to visit us at the T.H.E. Conference, for a live demo. The conference will take place March 28-30 in St. Louis, MO. For more information, visit our strip packaging product page, or call (877) 797-2332 now to speak with an automation expert.