In part 2 of this 3-part series, Drug Topics® sat down with Asteres® chairman and BioIQ CEO, Sean Slovenski to discuss 24/7 automated pharmacy pickup.
ScriptCenter allows your pharmacy staff to maintain control of filling and checking prescriptions, while ScriptCenter takes care of the secure storage, tracking, pickup, and payment of your pharmacist-filled prescriptions.
Asteres® develops ScriptCenter kiosks and lockers for secure and safe pickup of prescriptions and healthcare products.
Drug Topics®: That's very cool. You mentioned about the ATM sort of concept of it. Can you explain how the kiosks and lockers ensure the safety of the medications?
Sean Slovenski: Yeah, these are one of the things with our company we have spent a lot of time serving the Department of Defense in the US military. And so, these machines get deployed all over the world at military bases.
So, they've got to be pretty tough and rugged, and very secure. And that carries over into the way we use them in more of the domestic market. So, you know, they're all made of steel, they're locked, you can't get into them, they're video surveilled so that we know what's going on in and around them.
They're not 100% foolproof, just like an ATM can be wrapped with a chain and ripped off by a pickup truck, which is a trend in the US. You could try to do that with these, although they weigh about 500 pounds more than an ATM. So, it's going to be a little tougher, but they're kind of just a steel bulletproof box.
That unless you're the service technician, or the pharmacist with the special key in the code, nobody can break into it, at least not without a blowtorch, and a truck, and a tank and some dynamites are there. They're pretty tough.
Drug Topics®: In going off of the kiosks and everything about it. Can you tell me about the 24-hour animated pharmacy pickup and sort of how that works?
Slovenski: Yeah, so you know, we talked a little bit ago about telemedicine. So, imagine and again, I because most people haven't seen these kinds of machines. But if you imagined yourself going up to an ATM to get some money out. And there was a button there that said, I need to talk to a live teller right now do you press that button, and a live teller would pop up on the screen and work with you Just like if you were inside the bank, but it would be like a a telemedicine visit with a bank teller. Same way here.
So, our medication machine has a big giant screen on it. And you can hit the button or pick up the phone if you want more confidentiality. And a pharmacist will come on, like a telehealth visit. Answer any questions that you have validate that it's you do the counseling visit that's required in most states, you know, have you taken this medication before?
Well, here are some side effects to expect that that kind of consultation, and then the medicine would dispense, and you would hang up so to speak with the pharmacist. So, it works just like that. That's wonderful. Can you tell me any personal accounts of for pharmacists that are listening about cost savings and how implementing the script Center can help with cost savings? Yeah, well, it does a few things. It does help with cost savings. But really, it's more about convenience and customer retention and revenue generation.
So, when you come up to the kiosk, or you come up to the locker system and kind of self-checkout, so to speak, same kind of concept, it's quicker and easier, you don't have to wait in line, right. So that's a convenience, your medication isn't any cheaper, though, it's the same cost that would be if you were standing with the pharmacist, where this is really helpful to a lot of communities and businesses are for after hours.
So, when a pharmacy closes at seven o'clock or eight o'clock at night, but the store is open till 10 or midnight or 24 hours, while you can still come get your prescription if that's when it's more convenient for you. And so, you actually add quite a bit more business to your pharmacy that you wouldn't normally do because it wouldn't be open.
And then when you have remote locations way out in the middle of rural America where, you know, they might have a discount store or gas station, maybe a Walmart maybe not, you know, having small community centers or police station or fire station where something like this is housed can be pretty convenient for people to versus driving an hour and a half into town to pick up, you know, whatever medication they need. That's awesome. And we definitely have a lot of independent pharmacists, that that definitely sounds beneficial for.
Drug Topics®: So, going off of that. Can you tell me a little bit about how this also can ensure providing quality of pharmacist-patient interaction as well?
Slovenski: Yeah. So, we'll take myself since I've obviously already established that I'm older and I've been taking my blood pressure medication for a decade. I don't really need to talk to a pharmacist, I just need to get it right. So, mail order for me is really nice and convenient. But when when somebody needs that consultation, and the thing that I always think about with pharmacists and why I think they're so important, is you know, the apothecary has been around for a few 1000 years.
And that pharmacist has been the doctor psychologist, the pharmacist, the nurse, the home caregiver, you know for decades and decades and communities. And while we can't replace that by having the telemedicine interface on the machine, or even an app where you can interact with that pharmacist, and even in some cases, the same pharmacist, you start developing that relationship that helps you understand your medication or your health conditions much better.
These machines not only dispense prescription medications, but they can also dispense over the counter medication. So just like you'd walk up to the front counter of the pharmacy and go so I've got an itchy rash on my left arm. I don't know if it's poison ivy or what do you think and what should I use? Well, you can have that same visit over the machine right because you've got the screen in the camera and you can go hey, look at this and the pharmacist can go well, you know, you probably need a cortisone cream with some aloe in it.
And you know what? That's 299 And we keep that in stock in the machine and boom, boom, boom, boom, and blanket pops out like the Canna Coca Cola at the bottom. And you take your medicine and go just like you would if you were in the store working with someone so it's it's as close as we can get to having 24-hour availability, without having a person physically there at that location.