The First Telepharmacy in Arizona -- Wickenburg Community Hospital

For many rural communities, receiving quality healthcare requires traveling a significant amount of distance to reach the closest pharmacy. This reality makes it difficult for underserved rural patients to receive proper healthcare.

In Arizona, Roger Rose, Director of Pharmacy at Wickenburg Community Hospital, came to the realization that the hospital needed to expand pharmacy services to areas closer to patients.

“We were the first ones in the state of Arizona to start remote pharmacy,” says Rose. With most of his patient base living far away, Rose wanted to improve accessibility to pharmacy care.

“Our pharmacy is known for customer service, going the extra mile to take care of our people,” adds Rose. “Whether it's delivery service, whether it's compounding, whether it's just taking care of the patient when maybe somebody else can't.”


Click above to watch the video.

Getting the Board's Approval

Although Wickenburg Community Hospital received approval to open the first remote pharmacy in the state of Arizona, they quickly ran into a new problem. 

“We knew in our clinic that space was going to be an issue,” says Rose, “In the state of Arizona, it's 300 square feet to have a pharmacy, and we couldn't do that.” In Arizona, 300 square feet is the minimum space required to run a pharmacy, allowing enough space to monitor staff and allow for an unobstructed, efficient workflow. Pharmacies in Arizona are also required to have a designated private area for consultations, and must have at least three feet of counter space for every staff member.  

With a small clinic location, fitting everything into a small break room was the only chance Rose had to receive approval from the board. 

“One of the roles that the RxSafe 1800 played was taking that square footage from 300 down to 125 square feet,” says Rose. “The RxSafe contains all my bottles and tablets and capsules, and now we're able to very easily put the whole pharmacy with one technician into 125 square feet.” 

The RxSafe 1800 can hold up to 3,600 stock bottles securely within the system, eliminating the need for bulky shelving. For Rose, putting most of his inventory into the RxSafe allows his remote pharmacy to have approval from the board.

Security in Remote Pharmacy

For many pharmacy owners, drug diversion and theft are constant threats to their pharmacy. In remote pharmacy, those concerns only increase, since there is only one technician at the location 99% of the time.

“I made site visits to other remote site pharmacies in Iowa and Illinois, and one of the things that struck me as a pharmacist is to walk in and see only one person in the pharmacy, which would be a technician,” says Rose. “That technician had all these drugs on the shelves, and as a pharmacist I felt very insecure about that.”

Wanting to ensure the security of C-II narcotics, Rose knew that the RxSafe 1800 could provide the accountability and confidence he was searching for. “When I saw the RxSafe I thought that it would be awesome to be able to have that kind of security for my medications in a remote site pharmacy,” says Rose.

“The RxSafe keeps track of who accessed it, it tracks the movement of every medication that goes out of the RxSafe, and there's a name attached to the medication that was taken out,” adds Rose. The RxSafe 1800 monitors and stores narcotics safely and securely, and weighs bottles going in and out of the system to the nearest 1/100th of a gram, reducing the threat of theft or drug diversion. If there is a discrepancy in the number of pills that are returned, the RxSafe 1800 will flag it.

“We shared with the board how RxSafe works and how the security of our product controls were kept, and they were sold on it.” says Rose. “So it was a good win for us to allow us to open up our first remote site pharmacy.”

Inventory Management = Stress Free

For many pharmacists, manually reviewing inventory can take several hours, if not days, to go through all the medications on the shelf. 

For Wickenburg Community Hospital, keeping track of inventory at its remote pharmacy locations is critical. With the RxSafe 1800, Rose can easily keep track of all the inventory in real time. 

“In remote pharmacy, I have to do a monthly count of all the controls, and we'll go through it very quickly,” says Rose. 

“We use the RxSafe 1800 for all of our inventory,” adds Rose. “It all goes into RxSafe, and we can always go and check to see if we have an item in our inventory.” Even if medications or injectables are not being placed inside the RxSafe, the system will still keep track of it. This eliminates the need for separate tracking systems, and makes it quicker to go through all the inventory. 

Not only does the RxSafe 1800 help manage inventory, but it also ensures that each prescription is accurately filled. “The RxSafe is going to bring out the bottle that you need, so it's not like going to the shelf and grabbing the wrong bottle, which happens all the time (in manual shelving systems),” says Rose.

“Before we were taking a tote and walking back and forth between shelves, putting the medication away in the wrong spot, or not rotating it,” says Rose.

The RxSafe saves time by eliminating the need to search for the NDC on the shelf, and simplifies putting each medication away.

The Hospital's 'First Choice'

“RxSafe was my choice because other robotics didn't offer the security that I felt RxSafe could do,” says Rose.

“The return on investment using the system is not only in dollars and cents, but it's been in the security to know that our medication is held in a secure device and is coming out accurately,” says Rose.

Rose uses an RxSafe 1800 at the remote pharmacy location, but also in the main campus at Wickenburg Hospital. Having had great success with the automation, Rose has a third RxSafe waiting to be installed in his next remote pharmacy site.

Watch the full video above to listen to Roger Rose’s complete testimonial.To learn more about the RxSafe 1800, please visit our product page or call ((877) 365-2369.


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