This February issue of the Gunn and McConville newsletter focuses on changing medical practices. With a new machine being delivered to Gunn and McConville and the constant changes to practice via technology and innovation, we thought we would keep readers updated with how this impacts on medication management specifically and medical practices more generally.
PS. The image is of electric underwear. And although it sounds amusing, small charges into the skin from this underwear can apparently stimulate muscles and circulation, therefore preventing bedsores.
Hope you enjoy the newsletter.
Cheers, Sue :)
The ATP2 sachet packing machine
It is a very exciting time for the staff at Gunn and McConville with the arrival of the much anticipated automated medication packing machine, we have named 'James'!
The machine weighs almost 600kg and had to be lifted into the Gunn and McConville offices by crane through the roof!
The machine packs up to 65 pouches a minute, has 3 pouch sizes which are selected using software and a range of graphic options to colour and personalize medication pouches. Most importantly, however, the machine provides for more efficiency in less space, thereby freeing up time for pharmacists and technicians to attend to a more personalised approach to medication management.
Cheers, Sue :)
David's views on the ATP2 machine
I caught up with David McConville to find out the story behind the new packing machine and what this means for the pharmacy. Interesting times!
The beginning of 2017, David and a new medication packaging machine to herald in the new year. What are the reasons for investing in such a machine?
There are many reasons. The main reason is to have more control over the way the medication is packed. This includes being able to supply packaged medication sooner, and the ability to add extra details to the outside of the sachet such as tablet descriptions, medication warnings or resident photographs.
In the first article I discuss how the machine works, how do you envisage it will impact on Gunn and McConville’s medical management?
Initially there will be not be a large impact which is deliberate. Gunn & McConville packed Dose Administration Aids (DAAs') will be an extra choice to facilities and members of the community. This will be in addition to the comprehensive MPS service which includes a charting solution.
We understand that not all homes are the same, they have different needs and our services need to keep changing to meet those needs.
What do you see as the best features of the machine?
One feature of the machine I really like is its compatibility with other systems we use. It seamlessly links with our dispensing software and we have the option of adding a fully automated checking machine down the track which assists the pharmacist to reduce errors.
There is a lot of money I expect invested in an automated medication packing machine, where do you see the benefits and savings?
There are savings by packing "in-house". Saying that, it is a long-term investment which will improve our overall offer to the community. Therefore, some of the benefits will come with time and lots of hard work from our fantastic team.
When it comes to big changes that involve staff to operate differently, how are they prepared and supported?
This is a big change. Pharmacists are required to use a new piece of dispensing software and we all need to get used to more stock on the shelves and changes to workflow.
We have several team members learning to become "automation" champions and they will ensure all of the team are included and involved.
Looking into the future, what other types of technologies would you like to implement at Gunn and McConville… perhaps if you won Power Ball?!!
The first thing I would like is a bit more space and ideally we would all be on one level (currently on 2 levels). Apart from an automated sachet checking machine, I think a dispensary robot would be lots of fun and save the pharmacy staff lots of time. Our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are always in demand so it would be terrific for them to not have to worry about stocking shelves and being removed from the customer.
Electronic medication charts that also become valid prescriptions will happen in the next couple of years (hopefully sooner) and this excites me. They will reduce medication errors and assist doctors, nurses and pharmacists by dramatically cutting down the administrative burden of the current prescription and chart system.
Exciting times ahead David! Thanks for your time and best of luck with the new machine.
Thanks Sue. Have a great day.
Global Pharmacy Innovations
The ability to automate some pharmacy practices has resulted in an array of exciting technological innovations.
Not only are there machines like the new Gunn and McConville ATP2 to pack medications, there are robots to assist with dispensing medications, such as the one to the left.
Some other innovations focus not on machines but tracking adherence, sensing when tablets have been released from their package, but not consumed, while a more advanced technology still being developed is the ‘smart’ pill:
“This consists of a sensor pill, ingested by the patient, which transmits data on doses taken, heart rate, body posture to a mobile telephone or tablet device, via a receiver patch on the patient’s skin. At present, this is available only as a dummy pill, but eventually it will be incorporated into medicines” (Goundrey-Smith 2014).
The sensor inside the smart pill manufactured by Proteus is the size of a grain of sand.
It all sounds very exciting!! Some commentators, however, believe....
"Beyond the pill (BTP) strategies have become as trendy as the Kardashians and as ambitious as Captain Kirk. Yet the bright future of Rx technological enhancements paired with an ecosystem of services is still more of a dream than a commercial reality, with a variety of failed initiatives littering the industry" (Edge 2016).
Basically Edge (2016) is arguing that 'Beyond the Pill' innovations require a paradigm shift in how pharmacy and medical practices are done. Elaborating further, Edge thinks there needs to be a commitment to the resources required and more focus on who actually benefits from this technology if these innovations even have a chance of getting off the ground.
To conclude I will leave you with a video of the latest (general) medical innovations of 2016-2017. Just inspirational!!