Smartpharm Pioneers Automation Using Robotics Software
A North Somerset community pharmacist is planning to greatly expand his pharmacy services, following major efficiency savings from combining the use of robotics with cutting edge pharmacy tech.
Hussain Almosawi is CEO of SmartPharm, a chain of pharmacies which has businesses in Clevedon and in Brentford, East London. After taking over the Clevedon branch in January this year he installed the Titan Pharmacy Operating System from Invatech Health in Bristol.
Titan has been making headlines since it launched in 2019 when it became the first Pharmacy dispensing system to be given NHS accreditation in more than a decade. It has already revolutionised the pharmacy dispensing process by creating the first paperless workflow and the first barcode scanning process, helping free up pharmacists’ time, enabling them to focus on newly commissioned patient services designed to relieve the burden from the NHS.
Crucially, Titan, with its cloud-based architecture, allows full integration with other systems including robots to create a unique workflow. Now Mr Almosawi’s practice is the first in the UK to integrate Titan with the Vmax medication dispensing robot, from German manufacturer BD Rowa. The results have been stunning, with 50 per cent efficiency savings in just two months in turn freeing up time for new ventures such as exploring the local home care market.
Meanwhile Mr Almosawi says the effects are being felt throughout the practice itself and the community it serves. “It’s all making a massive difference,” he said. “It’s made everything smoother, easier and more efficient. Last week my dispensing team, of just three, dispensed 800 items in a single shift. That’s quite an achievement.
“It’s certainly taken the pressure off our staff. They’re enjoying work and life’s not as busy or stressful as it used to be. We no longer have queues stretching around the premises, with people waiting outside in all weathers.
“We’re actually now working at under our full capacity. So we’re looking at launching into care homes without increasing our staff numbers. We can dispense more prescriptions, offer other services and explore new avenues for our business.”
Earlier this year, Invatech Health announced a further £950,000 funding from Innovate UK, under a programme to support game-changing innovations in the UK’s SME community. The Bristol-based company’s team of IT specialists have created cloud platform and API messaging to allow other systems to connect with the PMR workflow – so integrations can be easily formed to create a seamless experience for the end user and deployed via Titan’s marketplace, equivalent to an ‘app store’ for pharmacy.
Tariq Muhammad, CEO at Invatech Health, said: “We always planned to have integrations with robots and we saw this as an exciting opportunity to take dispensing workflow to the next level and be more than just a simple message communicating to the robot. We’re extremely pleased with the impact our tech is having.”
The new Titan and BD Rowa interface was released to SmartPharm Pharmacy earlier this month, alongside the new Titan Stock app, which creates a new workflow to help pharmacies manage every aspect of dispensary stock.
One of the special features of the Titan Stock App is to solve the issue of split packs. This is when the doctor prescribes a quantity which is less than the original pack size of the drug. In such cases, Titan issues a new barcode to identify the leftover stock so it can be recognised by the robot as a split.
Joshua Akin-George, Sales Director for BD Rowa, said “As one of the leading robots on the market, there is so much the V-Max is capable of via our Mosaic software. Titan’s approach to the integration has been refreshing and allows the full potential of the V-Max to be realised.
“We are delighted to see the rich integration between Titan and Mosaic, making it easy for Mr Almosawi and the SmartPharm team to manage product files, so staff spend less time caretaking the robot and updating files manually, a common issue with other PMR robot integrations.
“The combined effect of our joint interface, the Titan Stock App and the established digital and paperless workflow already in Titan, has given rise to a new level of efficiency never before seen in a pharmacy.”