The pharmaceutical industry is growing at a very fast rate with the evolution of better medication. No matter how useful a medicine may be, it will have no effect if it is not managed and administered properly. Pharmacy automation system is a very important part of medication management, i.e. getting the right amount of a drug to the right patient at the right time, which is one of the major challenges of healthcare management.
With technology transforming the way everything works these days, pharmacists no longer need to play their traditional role of product focused dispensing for variety of medicinal formulations. Pharmacy automation systems are effective and efficient and can outperform in tasks which require intense concentration, tedious repetition or complex record keeping procedures, thus saving both time and money.
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A pharmacy automation system is a mechanical system that performs tasks in pharmacy and other healthcare industrial organization. Pharmacy automation systems are already being used across the globe in the pharmaceutical sector. They can be segmented on the basis of technology into automated medication dispensing systems, automated packaging and labelling systems, automated medication compounding systems, storage and retrieval systems, and table top counters. The major end use markets for pharmacy automation are in-patient pharmacy automation, outpatient pharmacy automation, pharmacy benefit management organisations and retail pharmacy chains. The in-patient market can be further segmented into acute care setting and long-term care setting. The outpatient pharmacy automation market can be segmented into fast-track clinics and hospital pharmacies. Pharmacy automation systems can be centralised or decentralised, depending upon the nature of the healthcare facilities.
North America accounted for the largest pharmacy automation system market share in 2013. The presence of a high number of R&D and healthcare establishments and high penetration rate of IT systems in pharmacies are the key factors contributing to the growth of this market especially in advanced economies of the globe. Asia Pacific is expected to grow at a much faster rate as compared to the developed regions of North America and Europe by 2020. This is mostly due to increasing awareness, rapid improvement in healthcare services and saturation in the developed markets. The global pharmacy automation market has shown a significant growth over the past few years and is expected to show robust growth during the forecast period.
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There are various factors which drive the growth of this market like increase in life expectancy, increase in population, expanding ageing population, increase in medical prescriptions and a shift from centralised to decentralised pharmacies. Moreover the need for cost reduction, lowering of medication errors, increase in the efficiency of work within the organisation (whether centralised or decentralised), improved productivity, are the major reasons to encourage the development of the pharmacy automation market.
In contrast, stringent regulatory guidelines, high cost of implementation and installation, limited budget of healthcare organisations, rising drug prices and lack of awareness of the benefits of the automation systems in some countries are the major factors curbing the growth of pharmacy automation. The global pharmacy automation market is a highly competitive market comprising of numerous big and small players. The major players in the market are AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Baxter International Inc., Swisslog Holdings AG, Care Fusion Corporation, Kirby Lester LLC, McKesson Corporation, Omnicell Inc., ScriptPro LLC, and Talyst Inc.
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Pharmacy automation systems offer potential chances of improving the efficiency of medication distribution and resource utilisation by integrating different departments—laboratory, nursing, imaging and medication records. Pharmacy automation system can contribute to the care of patients by preventing medical errors and adverse drug events by providing a way to check dosage. Pharmacy automation is evolving as a sophisticated technology, and pharmacists need to be educated and trained in order to effectively monitor these automated systems.