Sentara's Most Advanced Robot for a More Autonomous Pharmacy

A longtime partner with Omnicell, Sentara RMH Medical Center is a 238-bed community hospital serving a seven-county area in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia and is part of Sentara Healthcare, an integrated healthcare system with 12 hospitals in Virginia and North Carolina. The pharmacy’s philosophy is to automate wherever possible in order to allow staff to practice at the top of their licenses.

The Challenge

Sentara RMH Medical Center had been successfully using the Omnicell® ROBOT-Rx® Central Pharmacy Robotic System for 18 years. But the system had reached its peak in capacity and efficiency, and repackaging was placing a growing burden on pharmacy staff. The challenge: find an automated and flexible solution that would ensure patient safety, support the hospital’s centralized cartfill distribution model, and allow pharmacists to focus more on patient care.

The Solution

Activated Omnicell Product(s)


The hospital implemented the Omnicell XR2 Automated Central Pharmacy System, which automates critical workflows to maximize inventory control, improve operational efficiency, and increase medication safety. The system provides:

  • Support for cartless and cartfill distribution
  • 100% barcode scanning, eliminating human error
  • Advanced algorithms that pick soonest-to-expire medications first
  • Flexible and configurable architecture
xr2 machine

Our Most Advanced Robot for a More Autonomous Pharmacy

Several months after using the new Omnicell XR2 Automated Central Pharmacy System, Betsy Early still loves to watch it work. “I sit there sometimes and watch that thing pick, and I am amazed at what it does and how it does it,” said Early, Director of Pharmacy for Sentara RMH Medical Center. “I’ve been a pharmacist for over 30 years. To see how far we’ve come is incredible.” Early and her team are hardly new to pharmacy robots; they had been using Omnicell’s ROBOT-Rx system for nearly two decades. But that system had reached its capacity, and staff were stretched thin. One technician worked full-time repackaging medicines into unit doses for the hospital’s centralized cartfill—and still, they couldn’t keep up.

Freeing Staff for Valuable Clinical Care


The XR2 system, though, changed everything. Using groundbreaking robotic technology and 100 percent barcode scanning, it provides a more fully automated approach to medication inventory management.

One big benefit: It supports up to 90 percent of formulary medicines in different form factors—from blister cards to syringes—with no repackaging needed. “You can throw anything you want to into the XR2 system,” said Jamin Engel, Pharmacy Manager. “If it has a barcode and fits in that form factor, XR2 will pick it.”

Its vast capacity also means that Sentara RMH can pick most medications robotically now, reducing verification burdenson pharmacists and enhancing patient safety. Cartfills are faster and easier, too.

As a result, the team has redeployed staff to more value-added activities, freeing pharmacists to focus more on clinical care. That has made the XR2 popular with technicians and pharmacists alike.

The Impact

Key Outcomes:

  • Dramatically reduced repackaging
  • Increased capacity
  • Improved throughput
  • Enhanced patient safety

Customer Benefits: 

  • Pharmacists freed for clinical care
  • Staff redeployed to higher-value tasks
  • Smooth transition and easy to use

KPI's Impacted: 

  • 20% faster inventory turnover
  • 99%+ distribution efficiency
  • 275% more unit-dose capacity

"The more we move away from manual picking of medications, the safer our processes will be."

Jamin Engel, Pharmacy Manager