If you’re in Johannesburg or Bloemfontein, you can now get your chronic meds at an ATM.
Yes, an ATM!
Forget long queues and cramped spaces, all it will take is about three minutes from what has been described as extremely advanced ATM pharmacies set up by Right ePharmacy.
The pharmacy dispensing units (PDUs) are chronic medicine collection points which dispense medication quickly and accurately so patients who are part of the public service don’t have to wait in long queues at their local clinic every month when collecting repeat medication.
Where to find a meds ATM
- Soweto: Baragwanath Mall in Diepkloof and Ndofaya Mall in Meadowlands;
- Diepsloot: Bambanani Mall;
- Alexandra: Alex Plaza and
- Bloemfontein: Twin City Mall.
How to access the service
If you have a chronic condition and you are clinically stable, you can use the PDUs, says the managing director of Right ePharmacy, Fanie Hendriksz.
“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,” he explains.
The PDUs are believed to bring much-needed relief to under-resourced public healthcare facilities.
“Many public healthcare facilities are and overstretched particularly when it comes to dispensing medication as there is a shortage of pharmacists. Right to Care set up Right ePharmacy to offer innovation through technology for the dispensing of chronic medication,” Hendriksz adds.
“The treatment of patients with chronic diseases contributes substantially to primary healthcare facilities’ becoming overloaded as there are hundreds of thousands of chronic patients in the system. These patients need to consult with a clinician twice a year and collect their medication a further four times a year.”
Five-step medicine dispensing process
- Patient scans barcode ID book, ID card or pharmacy card and enters PIN
- Patient talks to a remote pharmacist (like a Skype call)
- The prescription and items are selected
- The medicine is robotically dispensed and labelled and drops in the collection slot
- Patient takes the receipt which indicates next collection date.
A handy added service is that reminder SMSs are sent to patients who don’t collect their medicine to ensure adherence.
According to Right ePharmacy, for those using the PDUs, there is a 30% increase in patient satisfaction over going to clinics, a 50% reduction in waiting times, an 80% reduction in dispensing errors with patient adherence at just over 93%.
You can even talk with tele-pharmacists via the ATM.
The PDUs are open from 7:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Friday and from 9:00 – 14:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. The contact centre number is 0801 112 228.