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June 17, 2021

Technology + Service = Pharmacy Success

Matt Baldwin, PharmD,
System Pharmacy Director, Aultman Health Foundation

Many pharmacy leaders I talk to continue to be frustrated by pharmacy technician shortages. Technician turnover puts pressure on the entire staff, especially when they’re needed for operating pharmacy automation. There are also cost implications due to overtime.

Fortunately, we had little turnover during the pandemic, but now that it’s starting to wind down, turnover has increased. At Aultman, we have a lot of automation systems – the robot, carousels and unit-based cabinets – that all require staff to run them. The labor issues have forced us to look at our pain points and find a way to optimize the technology.

We turned to a “technology as a service” option to resolve the challenges of balancing automation with staffing. Omnicell’s Central Pharmacy Dispensing Service includes a fully trained on-site technician to operate the XR2 central pharmacy robot and provide ongoing tactical guidance and best practices to the rest of the pharmacy team.

To gain executive approval for this service and other new medication automation, we painted a picture of what pharmacy operations would look like without the automation: How would medications be supplied to other facilities? How many more FTEs would be needed? Would manual processes cause potential medication errors?

We also shared a vision for becoming a central hub to supply medications to other facilities by building on our automation with the XR2 service. The monthly subscription meant not having a large capital investment, which helped accelerate the approval process.

By increasing efficiencies with XR2, optimizing processes, reducing packaging requirements – all of that will allow us to reallocate resources to patient programs. Our pharmacists can move to patient care units, enhance our med histories initiatives and expand our meds-to-beds services.

Tune in today  to The Future of Pharmacy podcast episode Resource Headaches? Automated Rx Services May Be the Cure to learn more about how Aultman and Einstein Healthcare are moving forward with automation services.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of 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.

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