JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. — Pharmacy automation provider Innovation has rolled out PharmASSIST Light-Way storage and retrieval technology for retail, central-fill/mail-order pharmacies.
Innovation said Tuesday that PharmASSIST Light-Way can be employed in pharmacy will-call management, prescription order collation and inventory management processes. With highly configurable cabinetry, the intelligent pick-to-light technology uses multicolor light strips and various levels of security, including optional lockable doors with biometric access.
Light-Way’s pick-to-light technology guides pharmacy staff on where to place and retrieve prescriptions or medication stock at each stage of their respective process. Pharmacies can leverage Light-Way to streamline storage and retrieval for will-call/patient pickup and collation of patient group orders, as well as to raise the efficiency of medication stock inventory management, according to Innovation.
“There continues to be a need for affordable and highly configurable tools that improve the quality of the prescription fulfillment process, especially in the areas of medication picking, order collation, inventory management and sortation. Existing tools are targeted at high-volume facilities, come at high costs and only address specific operational flows,” according to Tom Boyer, chief operating officer at Innovation. “Our Light-Way technology breaks through these barriers by providing a fully configurable, low-cost, guided pick-and-place solution that’s scalable to any size pharmacy.”
In a blog post, Innovation software systems engineering director Alecia Lashier noted that Light-Way can be used anywhere in a pharmacy where picking or placing takes place.
“Instead of using distinct lights for each location, Light-Way utilizes a continuous strip of LED lights that can be dynamically configured to any size stock,” she explained. “Because of the simplicity of the required hardware components, the cost of Light-Way is low. This allows Light-Way to be used for any pharmacy operation, regardless of volume.”
Lashier said in the blog that a recent Innovation study of waste in pharmacy replenishment and manual filling revealed that the picking of medication stock took up the largest amount of time in each operation, 46% and 20% respectively. The picking of stock also attributed to the highest rework rate from first-attempt picking errors.
Innovation estimated that the addition of light guidance for picking of stock improves an individual cycle time by about 40 seconds, a 26% improvement for a potential savings of 20 cents per cycle. The blog post said manual filling improves by 2 seconds per fill with light guidance, cutting the pick time of a manual filling operation from an average of 4.5 seconds to 2.5 seconds, representing a 44% improvement with a potential savings of 1 cent per manual fill prescription.
“Implementing Light-Way technology in your pharmacy operation is an easy way to increase throughput and minimize error potential by up to 82%,” Lashier stated, referring to pick-to-light solutions research from MWPVL International.
Innovation added that the Light-Way system is fully integrated with its PharmASSIST Symphony workflow and operations management platform. Light-Way also can be integrated with third-party pharmacy/workflow management systems using a supplied software development kit.