Will Pharmacy Automation Replace the Pharmacist?


When it comes to counting and dispensing pharmaceuticals, pharmacy automation really comes in handy. It helps pharmacies manage, store and distribute their patient’s medications, providing a fast and safe way to dispense medications. Pharmacy automation robotic systems can count, cap and label prescriptions. They can store and track customer information as well as over 200 medications.

This innovative system has transformed the pharmaceutical industry. But will pharmacy automation actually replace the pharmacist?

Utah pharmacist Robert Lammle says no. And here’s why.

While pharmacy automation systems can effectively store information and count and dispense pills, there are many tasks these systems can’t complete. They can’t diagnose a patient, recommend treatments, or write prescriptions. They can’t interact with patients or healthcare providers, manage antibiotic therapy or dictate charts. And unlike these systems, pharmacists are pharmaceutical experts. They are trained to know everything there is to know about medications, their side effects and how they interact with other drugs.

Additionally, in most pharmacies a pharmacist is always available to offer medical advice and many provide walk-in clinics. People can just walk into a pharmacy and ask a pharmacist to recommend over-the-counter medications like for colds and flu and aches and pains. Pharmacists also help patients monitor their progress on medication and offer advice on lifestyle changes to increase positive results. While some people believe we’ll have flying cars in the next 50 years, people will never rely on a machine to recommend and monitor their medications.

In fact, by performing tedious tasks for a pharmacist, pharmacy robotic systems free up more time pharmacists to spend with their patients. Pharmacy automation systems just make it easier for pharmacists to perform other duties. And, these robotic systems reduce the amount of time patients have to wait in line to pick up their medications. Thus while they make the pharmaceutical industry more productive, pharmacy automation will not take away jobs. These machines will certainly not replace the pharmacist altogether.

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