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Is Automated Prescription Pickup the Future of Pharmacy?

Drug Topics Journal, Drug Topics March 2022, Volume 166, Issue 03

Script Center kiosks are an ATM and an Amazon locker rolled into one.

Is automation the future of the pharmacy? According to Sean Slovenski, Asteres chairman, it just might be. Asteres is the company behind ScriptCenter kiosks and lockers, a technology solution that allows for the safe and secure pickup of prescription medications anytime, day or night. Slovenski chatted with Drug Topics® in a recent episode of Inside the Practice, where he discussed the importance of accessibility in healthcare.

Drug Topics®: How have your experiences driven the work you do today with Asteres? Are there any gaps in the industry?

Sean Slovenski: Part of the issue with most things in health care is affordability and access. There are a thousand other things that go around it, but access and affordability tend to be the biggest barriers.

In essence, we bring these prescription ATMs to remote locations—[like] out in the military, rural settings...even at grocery stores and places like that— that need extra support because either their pharmacies are not open as long as they used to be prepandemic, or, in some cases, many pharmacies and retail locations have closed because they couldn’t find workers to keep them open.

Having access to your medication is primary to keep your health where it needs to go, whether it’s behavioral health–related medications or physical health–related medications. That’s the interesting thing—we can mail stuff to people’s homes, and that’s a great op-tion, but people like to go out. Having a pickup destination where you can get your prescription filled, then heading on to the rest of your day, is quite convenient for people.

Drug Topics®: Can you explain what the ScriptCenter kiosk is and how it works?

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Slovenski: The simplest way to understand it is with 2 analogies. We’ve all used ATM machines. I’m showing my age... Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, that was a weird thing. Banks [would say],“No one’s ever going to use that because they want to come to the bank.” Now who goes to a bank anymore?

[ScriptCenter] works the same way. Different laws in different states decide how you can dispense medications and the process of doing that, but essentially, ScriptCenter is an ATM. Instead of spitting out dollar bills, it will spit out your prescription...at a pickup location.

The other [analogy] is more like an Amazon locker system, where your prescription would [be] delivered to a locker within a bank of lockers at a store or community center. And just like picking up a package at an apartment complex, you get a little code, type in your name, and it verifies you through face recognition or a code that you have and, hey, locker 32A, there’s your penicillin for you today, or here’s your blood pressure medicine, and the locker opens for you. So it’s an ATM and an Amazon locker combined into one.

Click here to watch the full interview on Medical World News.


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