Automation has many benefits for pharmacy. These systems enable the computerized storage, administration, filling, packaging, and labeling of various medications. This automation could take the form of a robot or some other mechanized system.
Automation can increase the speed and accuracy of drug dispensing, improving security and also increasing productivity. Moreover, it can help to reduce cost and medical waste.
But will it be able to replace a pharmacist? Not likely.
What the machines cannot replace is the knowledge that the pharmacist has about medications, how they work, why they work, what they treat, what their side effects are, and what their interactions with other drugs are.
Machines cannot explain all of these things to a patient, explaining what dosage they need and when they need to take it, as well as answering any questions or concerns the patient may have.
What Automation Cannot Do
When patients come into a pharmacy looking for something to treat their symptoms, no machine can determine what drugs will best treat the person’s ailment. And machines cannot administer vaccinations or advise patients about weight loss or smoking cessation medications.
Moreover, automated systems also lack the ability to adapt to changing situations. For example, if a pharmacy changes its systems or procedures, pharmacy staff may not be able to modify the machinery to handle the new processes.
Machinery also needs to be maintained, and if there is a breakdown, it could be both expensive and time-consuming to repair. And machines that dispense medication still need to be refilled. A human being is required to do that. Also the automation cannot keep track of inventory, and humans are still needed for that task.
What machines can do is reduce error and increase productivity when it comes to dispensing medications, but the role of the pharmacist is now moving away from that particular task.
They are now helping patients to manage their medication therapy, helping patients monitor their progress and helping them get the best results possible by looking at their lifestyle and health condition as well.
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