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The response to COVID-19 has caused pharmacy managers to divert staff, money, and energy. Ken Savoie spent hours brainstorming with a local carpenter to improvise a drive-thru window for his Opelousas, La., pharmacy. Brian Kim had to hire a delivery driver quickly for his Leonia, N.J., pharmacy. Capital improvements and staff expansion were not in either one’s 2020 strategic plans or budget. All the while, their pharmacies saw spikes in prescription volume and quantity.

Ken Savoie, R.Ph.
Owner, Ken’s Thrifty Way

These busy pharmacies sought a plug-and-play solution. Hence, Capsa Healthcare noted a significant spike in its Kirby Lester KL1 counter sales directly attributable to the COVID-19 response. The reason is logical: The KL1 is easy, fast, and tiny, and needs no training or interfacing. It instantly takes pressure off staff members who are now counting more 90-day fills with less time to spare.

“Our newest store’s volume increased exponentially. The fastest solution was to add another ‘Kirby.’ We did not need elaborate technology, since we have all our computer checks in place. We just needed a good counter.”

– Ken Savoie, R.Ph.
Owner, Ken’s Thrifty Way


Number-One Feature: Simplicity


JJ Apothecary, which Kim manages, had previously hand-counted every prescription. The strain started to build when customers began requesting more three-month fills (even six months). ”My number-one thing was simplicity. Could we take it out of the box and start using it? Could we disassemble and clean it quickly? Was it easy to learn?” Kim says. “A machine could handle counting and save us hours, and wouldn’t bog us down — this was an easy decision.”

Sydney Jarrell, Pharm.D., with Ken‘s Thrifty Way, using a KL1 counting device.

Savoie, who owns three Ken’s Thrifty Way pharmacies, has used Kirby Lester counters for years. “Our newest store’s volume increased exponentially. The fastest solution was to add another ‘Kirby.’ We did not need elaborate technology, since we have all our computer checks in place. We just needed a good counter,” Savoie says.

These two pharmacies are part of a recent trend. “We are counseling pharmacies dealing with new challenges to make fixes that don’t add more stress,” says Geoff Dutcher, sales manager for Capsa Healthcare.  “In times like this, the simplest tool often is the best.”  The Kirby Lester range of products includes more complete scan verification, C-II inventory, and robotics that can provide workflow relief, error-elimination, and strategic long-term solutions. Dutcher expects that as pharmacies adjust to the “new normal,” demand for robust automation will begin to climb.

Learn more about Kirby Lester Counting Technology

About the Kirby Lester KL1 counting device

Watch: Click above to watch a video comparing Kirby Lester KL1 and KL1Plus.

The Kirby Lester KL1 is the pharmacy industry’s smallest, simplest, and fastest tablet counter. With a footprint about the same size as a counting tray and only 14 inches high, it fits into the most crowded dispensing station or narcotics vault. The KL1 counts almost any tablet or capsule quickly, conveniently, and accurately. It is ideal for narcotics management and physical inventory counting, and superior in every way to manual counting. Cleaning is simple and quick.

Also, consider the Kirby Lester KL1Plus, which combines the fast counting of a KL1 with scan verification to ensure the right NDC and quantity are being filled for each specific patient. The KL1Plus keeps a record of each fill up to 10 years, and includes C-II log and inventory functions. CT