Outpatient Pharmacy

August 2021 - Vol.18 No. 8 - Page #64
Category: Outpatient Pharmacy Automation

The number of hospitals operating outpatient pharmacies remained flat this year at 49%. Automation use in support of these operations is widespread, with 80% of all outpatient pharmacies utilizing a variety of outpatient-specific automation tools. While future projections indicate that a majority of outpatient pharmacies plan to expand their capabilities, it is notable that a growing number of facilities are content to maintain their current levels of service.

For more information, visit pppmag.com/automation and select Ambulatory Automation, then Outpatient Pharmacy Automation.

Facility size, and the attendant resources, are a strong indicator of the likelihood of implementing an outpatient pharmacy operation.

Both government-owned facilities and academic medical centers have demonstrated a steadfast dedication to providing outpatient pharmacy services to their patients. Community-based facilities have been slower to add outpatient pharmacies.

Over the next 3 years, the majority of facilities plan to expand their outpatient services. Yet it is notable that the 57% planning to expand their outpatient operations is down from 2 years ago, when 76% were planning to expand their outpatient services.

Automation is widely utilized to support outpatient pharmacy operations; particularly popular are e-prescribing, bar code verification, and point-of-sale programs, along with automated pill counters and robotic dispensing systems.

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While the outpatient pharmacies at smaller facilities generally dispense up to 5,000 prescriptions per month, those facilities with more than 200 beds fill a much broader range of prescriptions.

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