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Online Service Simplifies Medication Management

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 18 Feb 2014
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Image: A PillPack refill bag (Photo courtesy of PillPack).
Image: A PillPack refill bag (Photo courtesy of PillPack).
A new online pharmacy takes the headache out of making sure drugs are taken on time, scheduling refills in advance, and that pill boxes are filled in correctly at the start of each week.

PillPack (Manchester, NH, USA) is an online pharmacy that provides a proactive refill management service that maintains constant contact with the prescribing doctors, taking any necessary steps to get the prescription in place. The service accepts prescriptions like a traditional pharmacy, but in return sends the customer a roll of sealed plastic bags, each containing a set of pills that have to be taken together. Each of the bags has a stamp that makes clear when the list of pills inside needs to be taken.

A highly precise automated dispensing system sorts and fills the personalized PillPacks separately for each customer. The dispensing system contains multiple barcode checks, and each canister used is calibrated specifically for the drug dispensed. Each packet dispensed is then sent through an image recognition system that insures the right pill is in the right pack. The system can detect dispensing accuracy by size, shape, color, and density, cataloging an image of every single packet. In addition, each packet is checked by a pharmacist for accuracy and drug interactions prior to shipment.

Users have to create an account, supplying identifying information and the location of the current pharmacy. Once confirmed, the prescriptions are transferred to PillPack. The information retrieved from the former pharmacy includes medication name, strength, directions for use, quantity, original refills, refills remaining, prescriber, first fill date, and last fill date. If any of the prescriptions have no refills remaining, the service contacts the prescriber for a new prescription eight weeks in advance, and contacts the insurer for copayment. This allows the company to determine an ideal start date for the PillPack service.

The PillPack service is currently available in 31 US states and costs USD 20 a month on top of the cost of the drugs. Customers are supplied with two personalized PillPacks per month (14 days each), free unlimited shipments, 24/7 pharmacist support, and proactive refill management. For drugs that need to be taken immediately, such as an antibiotic, the company recommends filling at a local retail pharmacy.

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