Challenges to Choosing an Automation Consultant

May 2013 - Vol.10 No. 5 - Page #8

Rising hospital expenses and shrinking reimbursement continue to create financial challenges for health care organizations throughout the United States. Finding new ways of providing patient care that is safe, medically effective, and cost-efficient is on every pharmacy director’s agenda, yet allocating time to identify specific projects important to facilitating such care may prove challenging; potential projects may be identified but not pursued due to limited resources. In such instances, assistance from outside medication management experts can provide a solution. However, leveraging this option is not always straightforward, as pharmacy management may have limited experience in identifying quality consultant resources. In addition, the assumption that consultants do not understand the business of pharmacy and will simply seek to cut costs without fully considering the implications to patient care is a common concern. 

Consultant Selection
Too often the pharmacy consultant selection process occurs at the C-suite level without the technical insight of the in-house pharmacists who are seeking assistance. When considering the employment of pharmacy automation consultants, it is imperative that pharmacy has a place at the table. Pharmacy leaders must actively advocate for their department’s needs and emphasize that proactively working together in selecting a consultant will ensure a more seamless process going forward. The same considerations that are used when hiring an employee should be evident when hiring a consultant partner. The deleterious effects of selecting the wrong employee also apply to a poorly selected consultant. 

Banishing Preconceived Assumptions
Previous experience with consultants thought to be hired simply to cut costs can create a mind-set that is difficult to overcome. Pharmacy may feel critical of consultants based on past experiences that led to cost cutting rather than appropriate cost balancing considering the hospital’s overall needs. However, it would be unfortunate to allow this mind-set to transfer from previous experience and be projected onto all consultants. A quality consultant will begin by asking questions to clarify the facility’s true needs, and then make suggestions based on a balanced analysis of those needs and the associated costs. 

Accepting Assistance
Accepting the expertise of a consultant can raise additional concerns. Pharmacists may be hesitant to accept help, thinking they should be able to solve all of their challenges on their own. There could also be an underlying concern that using a consultant may uncover problems that would reflect negatively on pharmacy leadership. However, accepting assistance from a knowledgeable, experienced, specialized consultant has the potential to provide myriad benefits, including improved pharmacy processes, a smoother workflow, and ultimately, improved patient care.

Jim Jorgenson’s full-length article on considerations for hiring pharmacy-positive consultants will appear in an upcoming issue of PP&P.

James A. Jorgenson, MS, RPh, FASHP, is the chief operating officer at Visante, Inc. He has served on the ASHP Commission on Credentialing, the Council for Legal and Public Affairs, the Council for Administrative Affairs, and in numerous state chapter affiliations. Jim has authored more than 30 publications and has made more than 100 invited presentations, both nationally and internationally. 








Pharmacy Consulting Group, LLC
Ron Burnette, RPh, MBA, PMP 
784 W Devonhurst Ln 
Ponte Vedra, FL 32081


Pharmacy Consulting Group (PCG) is a small, privately owned firm that features consultants with experience in specialty areas, including systems selection and implementation, performance improvement, and operations management. PCG’s goal is to offer highly customized consultant services designed to meet the specific needs of each facility. PCG understands the difficulty in finding pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and nurses with necessary expertise in the technology of medication-use processes. To address this, PCG has developed a network of pharmacists, technicians, and nurses to assist facilities throughout the United States and Canada.








RXinnovate Consulting, LLC
Brian Mansfield, MHA, RPh, President
41 Timber Ln
Bethany, CT 06524


RXinnovate Consulting was founded in 1999 to provide a broad range of consulting services to hospitals and health systems across the country. Our consulting and implementation teams have over 20 years of experience in pharmacy management and the skill sets necessary for designing and implementing major patient care projects for hospitals. RXinnovate’s comprehensive consulting portfolio is designed to meet the unique challenges facing hospitals and health care systems. RXinnovate’s mission is to provide hospitals with the expertise and customer service to improve patient care systems throughout the medication use process. The consultants focus on designing and implementing superior systems and solutions for pharmacy, nursing, and the hospital as a whole. 










Visante, Inc
Denny Briley, PharmD,
Doug Miller, PharmD,
Ray Vrabel, PharmD,
Jim Toohey, RPh, MS,
Tom Bellnier, BS IT,
8792 Boulder Rise
Eden Prairie, MN 55347  

Visante is a health care consulting firm with practices in hospital and health systems, managed care, and international pharmacy services. Our consultant teams comprise experienced health care executives and clinical professionals who have a comprehensive understanding of the many issues and complexities facing the industry today. Our team of over 60 consultants collectively represents more than 150 years of practice experience. We work together with our clients to build solutions that meet real needs and create lasting results. A partial listing of our service areas include:


  • Safe handling of hazardous medications
  • USP <797> compliance
  • Inventory management
  • Retail pharmacy
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Central sterile products compounding

As part of our hospital and health systems division, Visante provides a full portfolio of support for inpatient and outpatient pharmacy informatics and automation needs with each of our five IT/automation consultants possessing over 20 years of high-level pharmacy and industry experience. 









Grifols USA, LLC 
Juan M. Cana
2410 Lillyvale Ave 
Los Angeles, CA 90032 
323-227-7018 or 800-379-0957 

Grifols is a multinational company specializing in the hospital pharmacy sector. The engineering team has worked with hospital pharmacies for more than 40 years, focusing on the IV room and automated storage solutions to apply the latest technology and deliver the right storage solution for each pharmacy area, including the IV room, central pharmacy, satellite pharmacies, investigational drug services, refrigerated drugs, and special inventory management needs. 

The Grifols approach provides efficient design and installation, identifying the optimal design and solution to meet any user’s workflow requirements by performing a functional analysis of all activities, procedures, and location of resources within the pharmacy environment. Grifols’ mission is to provide customers with unparalleled value through knowledge, experience, and worldwide expertise.

Pharmacy Healthcare Solutions
Terry Forrest
1300 Morris Dr
Chesterbrook, PA 19087


Pharmacy Healthcare Solutions’ (PHS) consulting services are based on a rapid implementation approach that includes a complete evaluation of a health system’s needs and goals across disciplines, a program designed for scalability and sustainability, and efficient implementation and ongoing performance assessment. PHS areas of focus include, but are not limited to:

  • Ambulatory care pharmacy 
  • Supply chain solutions 
  • 340B solutions 
  • Patient assistance programs 
  • Staffing solutions 

Our clients include acute, sub-acute, retail, and alternate care providers across the United States, and are composed of not-for-profit, for-profit, government, and county providers. In addition to assisting health systems throughout the country, PHS also has worked with government entities, large mail-order pharmacies, national long-term care providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.










LDT Health Solutions, Inc
Lou Diorio, RPh
Dave Thomas, RPh, MBA 
38 Cedar Pl, Wayne, NJ 07470

LDT Health Solutions is a medication safety and total quality management firm, specializing in controlled process and quality management strategies for the pharmacy community nationwide. LDT has more than three decades of experience in extemporaneous pharmacy compounding, cGMP manufacturing, home care product preparation, and hospital cleanroom applications. LDT is a leader in regulatory affairs and compliance, and can offer its expertise to assist your organization in bringing forth the highest quality preparations and services possible.


LDT specializes in the development of regional compounding strategies for hospital groups or health systems of all sizes under a pharmacy practice or FDA-registered model. LDT has unique technical expertise in automated compounding devices, software, packaging, and custom compounding methodologies. Through the use of point-of-failure and r-ROI (realistic-ROI) analysis, LDT can develop custom solutions for each unique practice setting and particular application, enlisting a blend of technical, automation, software, and controlled-process thinking. LDT’s mission is to provide value through experience, expertise, and unsurpassed customer service.


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