For Canadian Pharmacies, AI Conquers a Mountain of Faxed Prescriptions
Applied Robotics' WinRx Pharmacy System Platform Integrates DrFirst's SmartPharmacy
LANGLEY, BC and VANCOUVER, BC, May 25, 2023 /CNW/ -- A ground-breaking partnership between DrFirst Healthcare Innovations and Applied Robotics Inc. will greatly improve patient safety and the efficiency with which pharmacies in Canada process faxed prescriptions. Based in British Columbia, Applied Robotics' WinRx Pharmacy System platform is used by several hundred pharmacies in Canada.
The WinRx platform now integrates DrFirst's comprehensive SmartPharmacy solution – a first in Canada. This will transform the Canadian pharmacy industry by saving valuable time for resource-strapped pharmacies and reducing human errors in data entry, as e-prescribing is in its early-adoption phase in the country. SmartPharmacy uses cliical-grade artificial intelligence that reads the computer-generated prescriptions faxed to pharmacies, interprets the free-text information on the fax image, and transforms it into codified data that automatically loads into the pharmacy software to streamline data entry.
Today, most pharmacy staff in Canada struggle daily when customers ask if their medication is ready. Answering customers' questions requires navigating a computer screen filled with tiny images of digital faxes that are difficult to discern, sorted by the sender's phone number, and do not display patient names or other identifying information. When processing these prescriptions, efficiency is further impacted because each fax typically presents information in a different order and uses various fonts and type sizes. Pharmacy staff must manually transcribe each faxed or paper prescription into their pharmacy management system (PMS), a multi-step process that can take several minutes and may be repeated hundreds of times each day.
"This partnership is a game changer for healthcare in Canada," said Dennis Brox, president of Applied Robotics. "SmartPharmacy quickly filters out faxes that aren't prescriptions in a pharmacy's prescription queue and includes only images and related text that are actual prescriptions. So instead of scrolling through a lengthy list of faxes that display only the phone numbers they were sent from, our pharmacists can see a list of clickable patient names that link to their prescriptions. That dramatically cuts down on clicks and keystrokes and accelerates what has been a predominantly manual process for our pharmacists."
SmartPharmacy reduces clicks, keystrokes, and time by automatically entering all the information from the faxed prescription into the PMS, including the patient, prescriber, medication, instructions, and quantity, for pharmacy staff to verify before filling the prescription.
"This technology has the potential to greatly improve the productivity of pharmacies everywhere, and we are excited to be among the first to use it in Canada," said Curt Fowkes, B.Sc. Pharm, ACPR, co-owner of Phoenix Pharmacy in British Columbia, which began using SmartPharmacy in April 2023.
There are nearly 11,000 licensed pharmacies in Canada, dispensing roughly 750 million prescriptions a year, according to the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
"The role of Canadian pharmacists has expanded dramatically in recent years to include medication reviews, chronic disease management, immunization services, prescribing for common ailments, prescription renewals, and wellness programs," said G. Cameron Deemer, CEO of DrFirst. "Without better tools to manage prescriptions, they run the risk of being overwhelmed and burnt out. SmartPharmacy is helping Canadian pharmacists save time, increase efficiency, and better serve patients."
Applied Robotics won Silver in DrFirst's 2023 Healthiverse Heroes Award for its innovative use of technology to improve care and outcomes. In 2022, SmartPharmacy won a prestigious bronze Edison Award for excellence in new product innovation.
About Applied Robotics
Katlyn Nesvold, Amendola Communications for DrFirst