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July 01, 2022

Driving Pharmacy Value Through Robotics and Connected Technology

Dennis Wright, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Omnicell

As health systems navigate escalating staff shortages and increasingly complex drug therapies, the need for a high-performing pharmacy has never been greater. Implementing an intelligent infrastructure of automation and intelligence, supported by expert services to ensure optimization, is an opportunity for health systems to enhance medication distribution processes, support sterile compounding safety and efficiency, and ultimately improve pharmacy supply chain management.

Total prescription drug spend in the US was $576.9 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to increase another 6 percent this year. Pharmacy leaders need to find solutions that ensure the right drug gets to the right patient at the right time – in the most safe and cost efficient manner.

Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network (AHN) is seeing the benefits of building a technology strategy that is transforming pharmacy operations across its 14-hospital system. According to Laura Mark, vice president of Pharmacy for AHN, “When your technology is fully integrated and communicates effectively, you can spend more time focusing on patients, and less time on dispensing medications or on paperwork.”

Most recently, AHN has partnered with Omnicell to implement robotic sterile compounding technology to drive more efficient and effective delivery of medications to patients, while reducing costs associated with outsourcing medications and shortages.

For example, earlier this year, there was a national shortage of Heparin, a commonly used, essential medication that prevents blood clots. Because they had the technology in place, AHN was able to mitigate this shortage by compounding Heparin on their own, avoiding supply disruption of this high-risk medication and while continuing to provide safe, effective care for patients.

AHN’s technology infrastructure extends from sterile compounding technology in the Central Pharmacy, to automated dispensing cabinets on patient care units across all hospitals, as well as anesthesia carts in OR areas. Leveraging Omnicell OneTM data and analytics solution connects this technology, providing real time inventory visibility, allowing AHN to manage inventory, minimize waste and optimize usage of medications.

Mark said the enhanced capabilities afforded by the Omnicell technology will also help support additional new pharmacy programs being developed by AHN, including a Meds to Beds Program which enables pharmacists to meet with and provide prescribed medications to patients prior to their discharge, and a Medication Reconciliation Program that builds accurate medication lists so that when a patient is admitted, medical professionals can better collaborate on treatment options.   

Read more about the Omnicell-AHN Partnership in this week’s press release.

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company. Assumptions made in the analysis do not reflect the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.