Thrifty White Drug is one of the newest pharmacy chains to install ScriptPro Robotic Prescription Dispensing Systems to help with its prescription volume and maximize its return on investment. Thrifty White Drug is an employeeowned chain of 69 stores serving primarily rural communities in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana, and Iowa.
The chain's search for a robotic dispensing system started in 1999. Personnel began evaluating robotic dispensing systems for several reasons, according to Gary Boehler, executive vice president of Pharmacy and Health Care Services. For example, prescription volume in the stores was increasing, and they were faced with the need to add parttime pharmacists to keep up with it. Although employee retention at Thrifty White is very high, with turnover at <50% of the national average, it was difficult to find qualified part-time staff members in rural areas, and management made the decision to consider robotics as an alternative.
The evaluation team decided on ScriptPro because of the company's system design, reliability, and customer support.The team members also believed that the ScriptPro system would allow them to handle the prescription increase and position the stores for future growth. "When I calculated the cost of a part-time pharmacist and the cost of ScriptPro's robot, automation was clearly the way to go," Boehler said. "Since then, salaries for pharmacy staff have increased," he added.
Store officials want their pharmacists to be talking with patients, not counting pills. "Our goal is to get the pharmacist as far removed from the redundant tasks as possible. Thrifty White pharmacists verify and check prescriptions and counsel patients. ScriptPro robots have allowed us to do that," according to Boehler.