|Parata RDS On Tour||| Print ||
Parata brought its RDS robotics directly to ComputerTalk recently, courtesy of its new mobile unit. The concept was developed over the past year as a way to reach out to busy community pharmacists.
Parata Sales Director Rick Crowley notes that pulling up to a pharmacy in the big, blue RV typically generates a lot of excitement. He can then build on this initial impression with hands-on demonstrations. Soon, the mobile unit will also have Parata’s PACMED, which packages prescriptions for extended-care settings, and automated prescription machine (APM), its automated self-service kiosk for refill pick up and will call. “When all three pieces of technology are together, the interior will have the feeling of a future pharmacy,” says Crowley. “We’ll be able to show how it all works together, which will be great for pharmacies that don’t have any automation at all, as well as for those who have one or two pieces already.”
Ultimately the goal is to decrease the amount of time it takes for pharmacists and pharmacy owners to become familiar enough with automation to be comfortable making the decision to install. “We understand that pharmacies are busy, and pharmacists and pharmacy owners can’t necessarily get out easily to see our technology in action,” says Crowley. Not only does the mobile unit overcome this hurdle, but it also allows the entire pharmacy staff to see a demonstration and ask questions. For example, Crowley describes a recent visit to Bill’s Pharmacy in Great Barrington Mass., a high volume store that’s a great candidate for automation. “We were able to show RDS not only to the owner and the business manger, but to a number of the pharmacy’s technicians as well,” he says. Getting such a group together is important for two reasons, in his opinion. First, it allows everyone to ask questions, with one question frequently generating another. Second, it’s a great opportunity to gain the technicians’ confidence. “Getting technicians to buy in to robotics and automation is crucial because they’re the ones who will use them and determine the success of the investment,” explains Crowley. “Knowing that these key players are on board can make it a much easier decision for the owners.”
Interest has been high in the short time since the mobile unit first rolled out. In one example, Crowley had a busy, reluctant pharmacist who took convincing from his brother that the RDS was worth seeing, even when parked right outside. “He finally came out and said I had five minutes,” notes Crowley. “But he got so interested he stayed for half an hour.” In another case, Martin Guberman, who is a training install engineer, describes a visit that ended up getting pretty involved. “At one stop, the staff asked me a lot of great, technical questions,” he says. “So I ended up doing a mock training session for them.”
With the mobile unit visiting an average of two to three independent pharmacies a day, don’t be surprised if you see it soon.