All is not well within today’s pharmacist community. Several recent reports have documented the growing pressures brought on by increasing workloads with limited resources, time, and staffing. During the pandemic, for example, many pharmacy groups were additionally tasked with administering vaccines as well as providing other health services beyond their main function of filling and dispensing prescriptions. And, those activities may only increase in the future. In England, as reported by the Guardian, there is a proposal on the table that would ask pharmacists to prescribe medicines for certain acute illnesses, such as earache, a sore throat, sinusitis, impetigo, shingles, infected insect bites, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women, without the need for the patient to see a doctor or nurse for the first time. On the other hand, in heavily regulated markets like France, Germany, and other EU countries, limits are placed on who is allowed to dispense medicine, including restricting the number of pharmacies a trained pharmacist is allowed to operate, thus placing more pressure on the pharmacists who are allowed to perform their duties.
In another report, the Washington Post noted that as essential pharmacist jobs at retail pharmacies go unfilled, and hours are reduced at many of the large chains, the likelihood of spotty service and potential mistakes at pharmacies has grown.
All of this doesn’t bode well in a profession where mistakes can put people’s health at considerable risk. The conditions have, however, created an urgent demand for technical solutions that can streamline the custom prescription fulfillment process and perhaps relieve some of the pressures on the pharmacist.
BIC Medical, a Dutch company providing solutions to medical professionals across Europe, has addressed the challenge with a new efficient mechanism for dispensing medicine. Their Med2Morrow system is a combination of intricate hardware and sophisticated software that can sort and dispense medicine for custom prescriptions. The system has more than 500 motors that are programmed to pick, sort, and prepare the right cocktail of pills, which are then filled into bags or blister trays, which greatly streamlines the process for the precise, safe, and reliable provisioning of custom prescriptions.
At the core of the system is sophisticated software to control the machine functions and track the dispensed medicine for both patient safety and reliability of their business model. Protecting their IP became of paramount importance, which is where Wibu-Systems and the CodeMeter software licensing and protection solution came into the picture.
BIC Medical integrated CodeMeter protections using CmDongles as license containers in the field. As pharmacists use the entire Med2Morrow solution offline, this represented a lean and straightforward option for delivering the licenses where they are needed. Users of Med2Morrow systems use the dispensing machines only with the right licenses on CmDongles attached, and the system tracks in detail when the system is used and takes stock of the quantities of medicine dispensed to not only secure the solution from illicit use or tampering, but also to streamline the billing and maintenance process. Customers pay for time of operation of the machine and/or the number of pills processed.
A unique aspect to the story is that the Med2Morrow systems are operated offline. With the license kept on physical CmDongle containers, system maintenance was simplified. BIC Medical technicians can service the machines software and update any firmware or licenses that require updates on-site. As the licenses to use the Med2Morrow systems are always combined with maintenance contracts, there is no need for the pharmacists using the systems to worry about servicing their machines – leaving them the time to concentrate on their mission: Serving and advising their patients.
After studying computer science at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, he worked in traffic simulation R&D before switching over to IT project management and key account management for large ICT companies. Since 2012, he is active in the Key Account Division of our Wibu-Systems sales force.