ScriptPro Robotic Dispensing System

R2-D2 and CP30 from Star Wars. Rosie on the Jetsons cartoon.

The robot at the Penn Highlands Community Pharmacy is nothing like them, but it is a robot.

It is called a ScriptPro Robotic Dispensing System, according to Andrew Kurtz, PharmD., RPh, System Director for Retail Pharmacy Services for Penn Highlands Healthcare. Penn Highlands has two pharmacies outside of its hospitals that serve the community – Penn Highlands Community Pharmacy in the DuBois Community Medical Building on South Main Street in DuBois and McCabe Pharmacy in Reynoldsville. This robot is stationed in the DuBois store.

“The robot assists in the pharmacy by physically filling vials with prescription medications,” Kurtz said. “Forty-two percent of the medications that are filled within the PH Community Pharmacy are filled using this robot.”

What? How does it fill a prescription without a person’s help? Well, the secret is that it still requires a person to enter the information. The robot can safely put the medication it has in it – the most popularly prescribed pills - into the bottles and label them with a barcode for cross-checking its accuracy.

“The robot supports the pharmacy workflow by providing an automated solution to filling prescription medications,” Kurtz said. “Normally, this process is done by a technician or pharmacist. The robot will process up to 150 prescriptions per hour with a documented downtime rate of less than 1 percent and a counting accuracy of 99.7 percent.”

“Our ScriptPro robot streamlines work, frees up pharmacy staff to focus on other duties, and provides a reliable and accurate alternative to using pharmacy staff to fill prescriptions.”

“Additionally, since we are a 24-hour pharmacy, the robot assists our overnight team by providing an additional resource that doesn’t need to take breaks nor needs to clock out for a shift for the night. Using automation also improves employee engagement by lightening the load that comes with filling 600 prescriptions a day.”

Though a benefit for staff, it is the patients who benefit, according to Kurtz. “Scriptpro automation frees up pharmacy staff to focus on patients at the drive thru and front counters who may have concerns and questions. The improved time to fill a prescription lessens wait times for patients for medications called in by their providers. The accuracy and reliability of automation, along with streamlined pharmacy workflow, ensures patients are getting the right medication on every fill.”

To Kurtz’s knowledge, this is the only robot of its kind in the area. Kurtz continued on to say “The Penn Highlands Community Pharmacy will continue to pursue pharmacy based technology in order to improve our customer experience, provide a higher level of patient care, and expand our value added services”.