If Innovation Associates, Inc. has its way, the days of long lines at the local drug store, spent waiting for a pharmacist to parcel out each pill, one by one, to fill your prescription, will be a thing of the past. Innovation Associates, a Johnson City, NY, company is the manufacturer of SmartCabinet™ , an automated dispensing unit (i.e., basic counting and dispensing) that streamlines the prescription filling process.
The stand-alone SmartCabinet is designed specifically for pharmacies with low-to-mid prescription volumes and/or with an interest in automation. Actually, a number of different components — a 48 tablet/capsule dispenser (more can be added), the SmartCell™ terminal, a Pentium PC and a modem — the SmartCabinet represents a complete turnkey dispensing system. (An upgrade to the SmartCabinet system, the PharmASSIST Enterprise System, features proprietary software, multiple system configurations and a number of physical setups from which to choose.)
"Automated prescription dispensing has moved to the forefront of pharmacy operations," said John Boyer, an Innovation Associates representative. "Prescription volumes continue to rise while (at the same time) pharmacists are striving to deliver pharmaceutical care." "SmartCabinet not only greatly enhance the quality of the prescription filling process, it lays the groundwork for a pharmacy's future growth."
Acting as the "command" center for the automated filling, replenishment and inventory-related tasks is the SmartCell – a rugged hand held terminal (TechTerm) manufactured by Two Technologies, Inc., of Horsham, PA. Built to IA specifications, the TechTerm is specifically designed to make the SmartCell interface extremely intuitive to the operator. Its terminal features an easy-to-read LCD display and a customizable keypad. [The hands-free barcode scanner was introduced as an add-on feature.]
With SmartCell, prescription orders can be entered in a number of ways; manually, via the barcode scanner, or through a direct feed from an existing pharmacy management software system (PMSS). Orders can also be entered manually, by way of the SmartCabinet Rx feature (even without PMSS data). All three methods provide tutorial-like instructions and visual cueing to guide the operator through each step. SmartCell simultaneously counts and records order processing, and sInce any staff member can operate the SmartCell, it greatly reduces staff workload.
Once verified, SmartCabinet's dispensers simultaneously count all appropriate orders and place them in secure internal buffers. To quicken the process, and improve efficiency, multiple operators can process orders simultaneously.
Two Technologies has been providing products for industries in need of accurate, dependable hand held solutions since 1987. The TechTerm is a rugged, fully functional ASCII terminal ideal for a multitude of cost sensitive applications. Ultra-flexible, nearly every aspect of its operation from display mode to function key definitions, can be changed via menu selections or direct host control using private escape sequences. The TechTerm terminals used in the SmartCabinet system not only provide the necessary support for the application; they withstand the demands and rigors of repeated use.
According to Innovations Associates, the end result is system performance and process integrity that's second to none.
For more information on the PharmASSIST® SmartCabinet, visit: www.innovat.com/smartcab.html