We’re happy to announce new pharmacy system interfaces to PioneerRx and Pharmaserv.
Pharmaself24: A New Era in Prescription Pickup
Meet Pharmaself24, a flexible solution for pharmacies looking to offer more convenient pickup options for their patients.
Recently on CLIMB, we were joined by Patrick Johnson and Dennis Kniery of Comco Systems to discuss their latest development taking the pharmacy industry by storm, Pharmaself24. This revolutionary ATM-style prescription pick-up solution is unlike anything you’ve seen before, and we were delighted to engage them in such a great dialogue about how this technology will be a game changer in the pharmacy space. If you missed the episode, you can watch it on our YouTube channel here. Or, read on for a breakdown of what was discussed.
The Evolution of Convenience
In the early 1970s, a wise independent pharmacy owner and entrepreneur by the name of Gary Clinton had an opportunity to buy an old bank building and turn it into a pharmacy. He decided to utilize the existing drive-thru window for prescription pickups to compensate for a lack of adequate parking. Little did Gary know that his pragmatic solution would lead to an industry-wide revolution. Today, nearly every major pharmacy has a drive-thru, and many smaller-scale pharmacies have also jumped on board. It has forever changed the way prescription pickups are conducted, and it has paved the way for further innovation.
Around the same time that Gary was making waves in the pharmacy industry, ATMs were taking the financial industry by storm. There was initial reluctance to accept this new technology, with many banks assuming that customers would reject this self-service kiosk in favor of face-to-face interaction with a bank teller. However, the reception was quite the opposite. Today, most banks welcome their customers to complete transactions using the ATM if possible, and most customers prefer to use the ATM over going inside the branch.
Covid brought about quite a bit of innovation, as well, the most prevalent of which being curbside pickup and home delivery. But what about the patients who can’t get to the pharmacy during normal business hours? What if they work crazy hours and they aren’t home during delivery windows? What is the solution for them? One solution is pharmacy staff making themselves more available, such as staying open for extended hours or coming in on weekends. However, this “solution” is not sustainable, and can lead to burnt out staff and overextension of pharmacy resources. Plus, without being open 24/7, there really isn’t a way to be available for everyone all the time. Or is there?
The New Era
Meet Pharmaself24, the revolutionary kiosk technology that offers a flexible solution for pharmacies looking to offer more convenient pickup options for their patients. Pharmaself24 is designed to fit through the wall of a pharmacy or as a standalone unit. This state-of-the-art solution allows pharmacy staff to load filled prescriptions on one side of the unit; on the other side, it offers patients the ability to pick up their prescriptions at their convenience. Pharmaself24’s unique ATM-style design offers an element of safety and security that other kiosks do not, as prescriptions are loaded from a side only accessible to pharmacy staff. A standalone unit can be placed inside a building that is open extended hours, such as a medical complex or hospital, or perhaps a grocery store or local business in an area where it’s convenient for patients to pick up but would be cumbersome to open a brick-and-mortar location for your pharmacy. With Pharmaself24, you can really think outside of the box as to how best to extend your pharmacy’s reach.
So, how does Pharmaself24 work? A prescription is filled as normal and then scanned into Pharmaself24 through an interface with your pharmacy’s PMS. A robotic arm then takes the prescription from pharmacy staff and loads it into the machine, where it's held in a secure staging area until the patient is ready to pick up. Pharmaself24 utilizes a payment solution called text-to-pay, which allows patients to pay from the convenience of their mobile device via a link that is texted to them once their prescription is ready for pickup. Once that payment is made, the patient receives a six-digit PIN code to be used to pick up their prescription at their convenience. When they arrive at the pharmacy, they park in a designated area, enter their six-digit PIN code at the kiosk, and the robotic arm retrieves the prescription and dispenses it to the patient like a vending machine. The patient then signs for their pickup and the machine takes a picture of them. In less than 60 seconds, the patient is able to retrieve their prescription.
The Impact on Pharmacy
The landscape of pharmacy is changing, and so is the meaning of convenience. In reality, convenience is going to mean something different for each individual patient. For some, being able to come inside, speak with pharmacy staff, utilize clinical services, or physically shop the store is going to be convenient; for others, a drive-thru or curbside option that allows them to stay inside their vehicles will be better. Many prefer delivery because they never have to leave their house. But these matters of convenience leave some patients high and dry. These are the patients who can’t make it to the pharmacy during normal business hours, aren’t home during delivery times, or simply have very limited time to spare. They are forced to rearrange their busy schedules, even take time off work, to make it to the pharmacy and are oftentimes subjected to long wait times. Offering a self-service option like Pharmaself24 not only satisfies the need for convenience for these patients, but it also relieves some pressure on your staff.
As for implementing a Pharmaself24 solution, Comco works with you every step of the way. They facilitate hiring a local contractor and supply all dimensions and electrical/power requirements. They coordinate with you and the contractor to determine the best date and time to come and rough out the opening for the Pharmaself24 unit, and when to have the machine delivered and installed. Once the construction and installation portions are complete, Comco’s team of experts will conduct on-site training with you and your staff. Comco is also available to assist with your marketing efforts, whether it’s physical flyers, social media, bag stuffers, or whatever suits your needs. As with any new technology, you’ll have patients who will embrace it immediately and those who will be more reluctant. This is an opportunity for your pharmacy to get creative in generating buzz and excitement to help get naysayers on board.
About Comco Systems
Founded in 1968 by Harold Green in the spirit of innovation, Comco Systems has been a trailblazer in the development of pneumatic tube systems. In 2020, Comco took this technology to a large national chain pharmacy and developed a system specifically for them. Since then, Comco has been able to grow their market share within this chain to 70% of their pharmacies nationwide.
Comco’s success with this national chain led them to secure deals with grocery chain pharmacies, independent chain pharmacies, and even smaller-scale pharmacies. Comco may not be a household name just yet, but chances are, if you see a pneumatic tubing system in a pharmacy drive-thru, it is probably a Comco product.
Today, Comco is solidifying themselves as trailblazers once again with their innovative technology, Pharmaself24. To learn more about Comco Systems and Pharmaself24, visit their websites at https://www.comcosystems.com and https://www.pharmaself24.us.