Automated storage and retrieval systems at pharmacies help in providing optimum inventory management and reduce the scope for human errors. These systems manage the inventory through a control software and vertical carousal technology.
The software that runs the systems in the pharmacies are capable of performing operations such as storage, tracking and dispensing medications according to the prescriptions. The verification of the medication is done with the help of barcodes and hence is much more accurate and free from errors. Talyst and AutoPharm3 are the two most commonly used software. The automation systems can be integrated with the ERP Hospital Information System (HIS) or even the Pharmacy Information Systems (PhIS) for better inventory management.
Some of the capabilities of the pharmacy automation systems are automating the receiving and stacking functions; automatic tracking and documentation of retrieval functions; recalling medications and keeping track of the expiry dates; automation of wholesale ordering and recognition of priority of orders. Sapient offers the Avenger Vertical Carousel automation system for vertical storage and retrieval. The system consists of rotating shelves, which move vertically up or down as commanded by the operator. They provide efficient storage by utilising the available space and facilitating easy retrieval. The floor space occupied by these systems is much less when compared to conventional drawer systems. Due to their vertical structure they improve the workflow considerably. These systems go a long way in improving the efficiency of the operators by cutting down heavily on the walk and search time while filling orders. Thus, a smaller workforce will suffice when a pharmacy has an automation system in place.