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Omnicell launch dispensing robot for pharmacies

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Omnicell say that Medimat will make the transition from manual to automated processes easy

A leading provider of medication management has launched a pioneering new system to revolutionise pharmacy dispensing.

Omnicell Inc, which provides medication management and health care solutions, has unveiled its next generation Medimat, which it is hailing as the future of automated dispensing in retail.

The project brings together Omnicell’s latest technology and their understanding of the challenges facing retail pharmacy.

The project sets out to support pharmacies by:

  • reinforcing patient safety by automating the handling of medication packages and reducing the risk of human dispensing errors 
  • Improving efficiency and savings 
  • Freeing up staff from administrative and logistical tasks to spend more time with customers
  • Driving business growth opportunities

Enhanced patient safety

The decision to automate and adopt robotic technology is the first step to revolutionising the way retail pharmacies operate.

Omnicell say that Medimat will make the transition from manual to automated processes easy, seamless, and rewarding. 

Patient safety can be put at risk by errors in dispensing, sometimes from too many human interactions during the process, according to them.

Their solutions means dispensing errors can be reduced by simplifying the process and driving down the number of interactions involved in the pharmacy workflow. Omnicell’s team of pharmacy specialists work together with pharmacies to realign workflows and train staff.

Efficient use of time

Pharmacists often end up spending valuable time on back office, administrative and logistical tasks such as unpacking medication, stock management and searching for medication that needs to be picked.

According to Omnicell, these tasks can all be automated with Medimat, relieving the repetitive process of dispensing, and freeing up staff to spend more time to building relationships with patients.

 Pharmacists will know where the drug is within the robot and what quantities are available. In addition, it enables them to track slow moving items and eliminate wasted or out of date stock. This is critical when handling large numbers of prescriptions and will help business to grow as the pharmacy can deliver on a prescription request. As the Medimat generates a real time report on stock usage, it saves staff time on doing a stock count. 

Omnicell has a track record in developing innovative technology. Its patented suction pads ensure that boxes are not damaged and bottles are not broken during the loading and dispensing process. 

They say inputting medication into the new solution is safer because of its highly effective scan station, while the direct mode enables users to have medication available for immediate dispensing. The system can process up to 750 packs per hour, and the pack capacity extends to 10 metres of conveyer belt.

The company says the new solution offers value for money by cutting costs on out of date stock and by expanding bulk buying options. The speed of the robot will allow for more prescriptions to be processed with a higher level of accuracy, meaning that pharmacists can expand their business safely, efficiently, and profitably. 

Features of the Medimat include:

  • A re-engineered gripper to provide a more robust gripping system 
  • An increased stock capacity
  • New Fill in Door for faster input and FMD scanning process
  • Ability to manage part packs via new Fill in Door
  • FlexArea shelves to make storage flexible and adaptable
  • Ability to manage larger pack dimensions, increasing the number of lines that can be automated
  • A modern look and feel, available in colours to match pharmacy branding

Lack of space within pharmacies means many businesses wrongly believe that automation is not an option as staff already have limited space in which to dispense medication. As with Omnicell’s previous robotic dispensing system, the new Medimat is available in bespoke sizes and configurations to suit the individual need of any pharmacy.

Kevin Murphy, Superintendent Pharmacist at Wellbeing Pharmacy Group said: “The output speed of the Omnicell robot is one of the reasons we chose the solution. We’re located in a medical centre and wanted to keep patient waiting time as short as possible and provide a really good level of service for patients so they would choose us for repeat prescriptions. 

 “During the Covid pandemic, some of our staff have unfortunately contracted the virus or had to self-isolate or shield so we’ve had times when we have been very low on staff. Without the Omnicell robot we would have struggled to support our patients and stay open.”

Sara Dalmasso, General Manager and Vice President of Omnicell International, said:By enabling pharmacies to save time, money and reduce dispensing errors, Omnicell’s next generation Medimat can help to future-proof a pharmacy business. This exciting new solution provides efficiency, reliability and helps to facilitate a return to more patient-facing care, which are key to retaining and growing a satisfied customer base.”

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