Interview with Mr. Osama Otabashi, the CEO of ‘Future Gate Healthcare Solutions’
Mr. Osama Otabashi
“We strive to continue as a pioneer in providing smart pharmacy solutions”
Future Gate Healthcare Solutions is specified in providing smart pharmacy solutions empowered by expertise, technology and innovation in this field. ‘Hospitals’ had the pleasure to meet Mr. Osama Otabashi, CEO of ‘Future Gate Healthcare Solutions’ to shed the light on activities of the company and its achievements in the last few years.
At the beginning, please give us an overview about Future Gate Healthcare Solutions and how was it able to meet the requirements of the smart pharmacy automation?
In light of the increasing global demand for pharmacy automation using the robotic systems along with latest information technology, our company, for many years, implemented its strategy to invest early in this field to become one of the leading and fastest growing companies in the Middle East and North Africa region in the field of managing and automating work in pharmacies using the latest technologies.
Along with its strategic partnership with Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) , the global medical technology company, PharmaFlow solution helps to automate and manage workload in outpatient pharmacies and to eliminate medication dispensing errors.
We focus on designing an efficient pharmacy environment, using highly innovative automation, strong process management, latest technologies and proven solutions.
We strive to continue as a pioneer in providing smart pharmacy solutions and the best services to patients, empowered by expertise, technology and innovation in this field to achieve the following:
- Pharmacy digital transformation
- Smart automated solution
- Unique competitive features
This modular solution can always adapt and grow based on your unique requirements with real-time and seamless integration capabilities
We offer multiple options meant to accommodate almost any requirement.
PharmaFlow™ has user-friendly interfaces for improved workflow and productivity.
It enhances efficiency in every single step and displays a real-time inventory management.
The solution ensure that the values added are unique to all users.
How PharmaFlow™ helps in enhancing the patient safety?
Patient safety is one of our top priorities and an approach to eliminate medication errors.
The system promotes safety and productivity, tracking 100% of the processed prescription by:
- Medication barcode verification
- Clinical verification
- Prescription fill tracking
How the automated systems can increase the workflow efficiency?
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most significant benefits of technology. Be it pharmacy or any other industry, technology helps increase efficiency to a great extent and helps counter low productivity that may occur due to the nature of the task being monotonous. Using machines, tasks are completed much more quickly which means more tasks can be completed in a shorter span of time. PharmaFlow enhances the workflow efficiency, simplifies processes and promotes greater systems control!
It also provides the flexibility required to support many different pharmacy workflows by:
- e-Prescription Processing
- Flexible, best-practice and automated workflow
- Patient queue management and monitoring
- Patient counselling and e-Signature capture
- Biometric verification for narcotics and controlled items
- HIPPA compliance
What about the patient experience?
The future of pharmacy is about the patient experience, PharmaFlow solutions help pharmacies to become smart, automated and fully integrated which ultimately increases the patient satisfaction including:
- Reduced waiting time
- More time for patient care
- Innovative communication channels
- e-Refill requests and delivery management
- Self-service medication dispensing kiosk
What about the inventory management capabilities?
In fact, the inventory management process has become easier and more accurate than ever before, with documented tracking and matching capabilities that fulfill corporate audit requirements by:
- Real-time stock tracking
- Inventory level monitoring
- Barcode management
- Reduce inventory cost
- Automated storage management
- Manage drug expiry
- Manage fast moving items
- Improve process quality
- Inventory forecasting
How PharmaFlow™ reduce the cost and wastage?
One of the biggest challenges faced by the pharmacy industry is controlling wastage. Using automated storage machines will automatically do what’s needed i.e. expiry management of the inventory of the medication, by giving the priority to those near expiry in dispensing. This reduces wastage and costs simultaneously in the long run.
How does the system help in tracking and documenting drug storage and dispensing?
Pharmacists are legally and organizationally responsible for ensuring that medication dispensing is adequately controlled as well as for documenting the use of these drugs and treatments within a healthcare facility.
PharmaFlow ™ system provides options for tracking and documenting medications storage and dispensing at the batch / lot number level and even at the serial number level for each single pack, with the ability to integrate with governmental medication track & trace systems, such as the one used currently the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in addition to calculate consumption rates and balance of refill prescriptions for patients with chronic diseases and a lot of statistical information that supports the pharmacy management.
Does the system support large health facilities such as medical cities, hospitals and chain pharmacies?
Yes, the solution centrally manages multiple sites and has the capability to scale over time as business grows.
It also uses business intelligence to generate succinct data that help leadership in taking decisions. It provides the following:
- Multi-sites and central system management
- Scalable enterprise architecture
- Highly interactive dashboards
- Comprehensive report sets
What are the main challenges and difficulties that you face in implementing your projects?
Integration difficulties with the hospital systems:
The main challenge faced by hospital pharmacies is integrating the robotic dispensing machines with other systems in the hospital such as the HIS, ERP, billing, patient portal, and queuing systems, therefore the right solution should have the needed integration capabilities and smart functionalities to maximize efficiency and safety for the pharmacy
Training is needed
Humans are needed to operate the machines. This means that the staff has to be given proper training to work with the complex machines which can be costly and time-consuming. Additionally, some staff members may not be comfortable working with machines which can lead to workflow problems.
Finally, how do you see the future of smart pharmacies in our Arab region?
Pharmacy automation has opened many doors of opportunities for companies as well as small and big pharmacies, which is why it is growing by leaps and bounds.
The increasing use of automation has caused a debate over whether automated systems will replace pharmacists completely. Many people believe that automation poses a potential threat to human jobs, but this is not true. As mentioned earlier, machines need humans to supervise them and feed instructions. Without humans, they cannot operate. Moreover, automated systems lack the depth of human understanding and the ability to carry out nuanced tasks. Even after continuous development, there are some tasks, such as patients counseling, that machines cannot carry out.
As for our Arab region, especially in the GCC countries, it has kept pace with this development and we have been able to implement more than 12 successful smart pharmacy projects in five Arab countries in all governmental, military and private sectors, and we have many projects that we are currently working on and will see the light soon.
Overall, automation may seem overwhelming at first, but it holds the key to greater productivity, improved medication adherence and an overall improvement in the system.