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RFID Technology Lights Up Prescription Will-Call System

Drugco Discount Pharmacy has deployed a system from Suncrest Solutions and EZ-RFID that includes a light stick stored with each prescription order, which illuminates for drugstore employees to make the search for a particular order fast and easy.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 07, 2017

North Carolina drug retailer Drugco Discount Pharmacy is the first mainland U.S.-based drugstore to employ an RFID light stick for pharmacy will-call. The system, provided by Suncrest Solutions in partnership with EZ-RFID, automates the retrieval process for prescription drugs when customers arrive at the counter to pick them up. The system, known as HangRx p-link, is designed to eliminate the need for drugstore employees to sift through bags of prescriptions searching for the correct one for a specific customer. By using passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID, the system instead triggers a light stick to illuminate inside in a clear, plastic, hanging bag, leading workers to the right medication.

Since the automated will-call system was taken live in October 2016, says Drew Huggins, Drugco's chief operating officer, it has saved approximately 10 hours of daily labor time that workers would otherwise spend looking for prescriptions.

The RFID system triggers a light to illuminate in a drug's storage bag, alerting workers to the correct one for a particular customer.
Suncrest Solutions has been selling its HangRx pharmacy will-call software system for more than a decade, to help users manage the locations of prescriptions as they are filled and dispensed to customers. The solution interfaces with druggists' existing pharmacy-management software so that they can use their own software to identify patients, insurance companies and the will-call location of a prescription that is ready for pick up, using the HangRx system, explains Jennie Larsen, Suncrest's chief sales and marketing officer. In addition, the system can automatically call or text a patient once his or her order is ready.

EZ-RFID's p-link RFID-enabled stick sends and receives transmissions via UHF RFID and illuminates built-in lights accordingly.

Last year, Larsen says, Suncrest and EZ-RFID partnered to combine their technology to provide a light-guided –retrieval system as part of an automated prescription will-call solution for drugstore employees. While the HangRx system could identify that a prescription had been filled, for whom and the bag number in which it was stored (based on a bar-code scan), the p-link light stick takes will-call retrieval a step further by reducing the time it takes to locate a prescription for a customer, the company reports.

The companies tested the full solution at a pharmacy in Puerto Rico, while Drugco is the first company in the United States to deploy the system. Drugco is a busy store, located in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. It fills about 1,300 prescriptions daily for around 600 patients, and has a manned drive-through window, as well as two additional staff members dedicated to finding and providing prescriptions for customers who enter the store.

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