Patients on chronic medication, who live in and around Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, can now collect their monthly medicines in about three minutes from advanced ATM pharmacies set up by Right ePharmacy.

Technically known as pharmacy dispending units (PDUs), they form part of Right ePharmacy’s automated dispensing programme, providing much-needed relief to under-resourced public healthcare facilities at these collection points.

Fanie Hendriksz, managing director of Right ePharmacy, says: “If you have a chronic condition and you are clinically stable, you can use the PDUs. Simply go to your usual clinic where a nurse will confirm whether you are eligible. You then complete a consent form and become registered.

“You will be given a two months’ supply of medication and you will be given a date for your next collection at a PDU site. On that day, go to the helpdesk at the PDU (with your ID or passport and clinic appointment card) where you will be helped.”

The PDUs are located in Baragwanath Mall in Diepkloof and Ndofaya Mall in Meadowlands, Soweto; Bambanani Mall, Diepsloot; Alex Plaza, Alexandra; and Twin City Mall, Bloemfontein.

For those that use the PDUs, Right ePharmacy claims a 30-percent increase in patient satisfaction over going to clinics, a 50-percent reduction in waiting times, an 80-percent reduction in dispensing errors with patient adherence at just over 93 percent.

The PDUs also still allow patients to talk one-on-one to tele-pharmacists. The PDU system improves stock management through a computerised system so that stock-outs are avoided.

Hendriksz concludes: “Our partnerships made this innovation possible and we are grateful to the Gauteng and Free State health departments that have worked with us to decongest public facilities and help ensure patients receive their monthly medication and stay on treatment.”

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