The Masonic Villages of Pennsylvania provide a full continuum of retirement living, personal care, and nursing services at five locations across the state. The Masonic Villages Pharmacy services its Elizabethtown, Lafayette Hill, and Warminster locations. The 1,400-acre Elizabethtown campus serves over 1,870 residents in retirement living, personal care, a 453-bed skilled-nursing and memory support facility that includes a 48-bed transitional care for short-term rehab, and a children’s home. Pharmacy manager Don Brindisi, R.Ph., is a big proponent of adherence packaging, and the pharmacy has used TCGRx’s ATP® and InspectRx® automation to provide residents with strip packaging for some time now. Until recently, the pharmacy was still packaging weekly plastic pill organizers for 80 to 90 residents completely by hand.
Until, that is, Don Brindisi, R.Ph., pharmacy manager, saw TCGRx’s new SmartCardRx™ light-guided packaging technology at a trade show last summer. Brindisi’s first reaction was, “How soon can we have it?”
SmartCardRx enables the pharmacy to fill up to four cards at a time, whether for one patient or multiple patients, using a variety of multimed blister card styles. At Masonic Villages, this means gaining a level of efficiency and accuracy that allows the pharmacy to fill and dispense a four-week supply for residents at one time. Providing residents a four-week supply helps them stay independent and adherent with just one visit to the pharmacy each month. Blister cards are also part of Masonic Villages’ meds-to-home program within its transitional-care unit. The pharmacy does a medication reconciliation for residents leaving short-term rehab, and then provides a full set of medications synced and packaged for them to take home, easing that transition and supporting their return to independent living.
Multimed blister cards are a big plus for residents, and they’ve become exponentially easier and safer for the pharmacy to produce, now that the process is driven by SmartCardRx with a sync program layered on top. The staff no longer needs to manage the average of 12 prescriptions per resident as they come due for refills at different times over the course of the month. “We would spend time refilling the medications one by one and then have to have to spend time to fill all the actual plastic pill organizers,” says Brindisi.
Brindisi sees the efficiency and accuracy of SmartCardRx coming from the barcode-driven, fill-to-light technology. First, the barcoding: A staff member scans the barcodes on the blister trays to assign to that patient order, then scans the medication stock bottle, which ensures the right drug and right dose for the right patient. This ensures that the technician is filling with the specific NDC that’s being billed for. After the medication bottle is scanned, the lights guide the technician to drop the medication into each blister by illuminating the appropriate blisters on-screen, as well as under each patient tray. The pharmacist check is just as smooth, driven by the same combination of barcode scanning and lights. “At final verification, the pharmacist selects the order to be checked, and SmartCardRx visually identifies the type and number of pills that should be in a blister cell,” says Brindisi. “If anything’s not right, then you can’t go any further. That’s big for preventing errors.”
“The cost justification has been easy to see,” says Brindisi. “What used to take two technicians and a pharmacist an entire day, now takes one tech and a pharmacist just an hour or two.”
Masonic Villages’ approach of offering different adherence packaging to meet the needs of different residents illustrates an important fact: There isn’t one packaging methodology that’s going to fit all patients. “I think you have to offer multiple methodologies,” says Brindisi, “but you also have to find the ways to do this as efficiently as you can. The accuracy and speed of SmartCardRx that comes from barcode scanning and the fill-to-light process makes a major difference for us. When we can take a packaging option like multimed blister cards that we know our residents want, and that we know is vital to their adherence and make the whole process around it easier for our pharmacy, that’s a big win for us.” CT
To learn more about TCGRx and SmartCardRx, visit www.tcgrx.com/products/smartcardrx.