Advancing Operational Performance through Innovative Pharmacy Solutions

Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Formed in 2015, ARxIUM is defining a new era of technological development for the pharmacy automation industry by bringing together the extensive portfolios and capacities of two industry leading companies, Intelligent Hospital Systems Inc. and AutoMed Technologies Inc., to create the most fully integrated pharmacy solutions company in the world.
Drawing from the historical success of both companies, ARxIUM is able to deliver best-in-class technology and products, in addition to offering unparalleled knowledge and expertise, working together to improve the safety, productivity, and efficiency of pharmacies of all sizes.

The integration of both companies’ resources and capabilities began in March 2015, when AutoMed Technologies Inc. was acquired by Intelligent Hospital Systems Inc. ARxIUM’s executive leadership has since been working tirelessly to consolidate, rebrand, and offer clients their combined range of pharmacy technology offerings, while improving clients’ clinical, operational, and financial performance.

ARxIUM is integrally working with their clients, distributors, and partners worldwide to ensure the benefits of their products are maximized, providing scalable, comprehensive pharmacy solutions and quality service for all segments of the pharmacy industry. ARxIUM possesses the technology, innovation, knowledge, and expertise required to revolutionize the pharmacy industry and its many processes, simultaneously improving patient safety, increasing workflow efficiency, and lowering operating costs. The company satisfies the growing pharmacy production demands facing hospitals, consolidated hospital groups, retail pharmacy groups, and long-term care facilities.

Consolidating the technology and resources of Intelligent Hospital Systems Inc. and AutoMed Technologies Inc. will enable continued industry leading success for ARxIUM. Both companies bring unique, highly innovative, and complementary technology and processes to the acquisition, securing for ARxIUM a place atop the industry, where their offerings are unmatched and their results unrivalled.

One of the pharmacy’s critical activities is the preparation of injectable doses, which is one area where automation can have significant benefits. Dr. Niels Erik Hansen, PhD, CEO of ARxIUM explained, “The preparation of IV doses is a complex process, usually performed manually. In any given complex manual operation there are opportunities for mistakes to be made, which can present risk to patients. In the worst cases these mistakes can be fatal, but in less severe cases there are also consequences such as a patient needing additional care or extended stays in the hospital. Aside from the patient impact, these also have a cost impact, which is not always considered. The right automation can reduce patient risks and also help to lower these and other pharmacy costs. ”

Dr. Hansen also explained that there are a number of published reports that have shown that having pharmacists spend their time in a clinical role, rather than overseeing dose production activities, can significantly improve patient care. One 2012 report from the Chief Pharmacist office to the Surgeon General found that every 1 dollar you invest in having pharmacists involved in patient care can result in a 4 to 10, or even 12 dollar savings. Automation of dose preparation can reduce the time pharmacists need to spend watching over dose production, allowing them to redeploy those hours into clinical care.

ARxIUM is the first company to offer a customizable, end-to-end solution for pharmacies for both oral-solid and IV dose preparations. These customizable solutions allow pharmacies to better manage workflow, production, and inventory, streamlining pharmacy processes by enabling clients to work with one vendor to deliver all components of their customized and comprehensive solution.

In 2006, when Intelligent Hospital Systems Inc. was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, evolving out of research that was being conducted at St. Boniface Research Centre, it quickly became a leading industry player. The organization specialized in the design and development of medical devices and automated solutions for the hospital pharmacy environment, automating IV preparations to avoid the risk of human error. Their flagship product, RIVA (Robotic Intravenous Automation), is a fully automated IV compounding system that has been named KLAS’ Best IV Robot in Study for two years running. The first RIVA unit was installed in 2008, where the first patient dose was delivered at the CHOC Children’s Regional Health Care Network in Orange, California.

By automating the admixture preparation using RIVA technology, both patient and technician safety is enhanced, efficiency is improved by way of automating the processes required to compound and dispense aseptic preparations into syringes and bags. RIVA can prepare both chemotherapeutic and non-chemotherapeutic doses and is in compliance with USP<797> and other regulatory requirements.

RIVA, through accurate dosing and automating processes in a controlled environment, not only increases safety and operational performance but also lowers the cost-per-dose of medications being used, reduces drug waste, and can help manage drug shortages – innovations which the hospital and pharmacy environment cannot afford to be without.

With a background in traditional manufacturing, Dr. Hansen concluded that the pharmacy is much like a manufacturing facility, though he argues pharmacies are at least 30 to 50 years behind in terms of technological and operational advancement when compared to traditional manufacturing. “A lot of the systems that you have in traditional manufacturing are actually easily applied, or readily applied to pharmacies as well,” he explained. “From an organizational point of view, I would say that the pharmacy could benefit a lot from using the same philosophy that you have in traditional manufacturing.”

Yet the same level of planning, scheduling, and monitoring that goes into traditional manufacturing was not being applied in the pharmacy setting, and the industry was therefore not experiencing the benefits of introducing the same kind of methodology to improve output, efficiency and safety on a large scale in the operations and processes. “So with that in mind, we started to look at what is needed in a pharmacy,” stated Dr. Hansen. The team began to look at scheduling, workflow and process flow, and identified AutoMed Technologies Inc. as a company whose technology and innovation satisfied those needs and possessed the planning software and the modules necessary to provide complete pharmacy automation solutions.

“RIVA, our fully automated IV compounding system, is only part of what you do in a pharmacy – but was the only product we had at the time,” said Dr. Hansen, explaining the limits of Intelligent Hospital System’s product offerings. “We didn’t have any of the products used in the automation of solid drug dispensing, which you also do in pharmacies.”

AutoMed Technologies Inc. was identified by Intelligent Hospital Systems Inc. as a means to expand the dimensions of their market reach, enabling them to provide end-to-end pharmacy solutions from drug order to delivery, and from prescription to patent, reaching every segment of the pharmacy industry in the process.

“We managed to close that deal in March of this year and that allows us to offer a complete solution for pharmacies,” shared Dr. Hansen. The company was able to add automated oral solid packaging and dispensing technology along with software and automated inventory control systems to manage pharmacy operations, this complementing their automated IV compounding system and bringing together the software and hardware necessary to offer a full suite of pharmacy automation.

AutoMed was established in Chicago, Illinois, in 1994, originating with the goal of improving the efficiency of pharmacy operations using a variety of advanced pharmacy automation, prescription fulfillment, and distribution systems, technology that already had an expansive market reach. One of the AutoMed technologies called OptiFill is used by CVS Pharmacies’ central distribution facilities in Chicago, a completely automated system that processes 90 000 prescriptions per day. “That was part of the reason why it became so interesting for us to combine the solid drug automation with the fluid drug automation and have a complete software, planning, and scheduling system to offer,” explained Dr. Hansen.

Though AutoMed was acquired by AmerisourceBergen Technology Group in 2002, the acquisition by Intelligent Hospital Systems Inc. in 2015 will help to achieve the full realization of its extensive portfolio under the new ARxIUM name, combining forces to provide clients with the most comprehensive solutions available and redefining industry best practices in the process. By bringing together automated compounding, packaging and dispensing, compliance packaging management, inventory control and storage, access control, industry leading workflow and scheduling software, expert consultation, production and workflow design, and onsite technical and implementation assistance under one umbrella, ARxIUM has a dominant global market presence.

With international offices located in the U.S. and Canada, ARxIUM enables clients to consolidate their pharmacy activities, helping them to benefit from economies of scale, having more product in one place, streamlining processes to improve efficiency, reducing costs and improving operational output. “After merging,” said Dr. Hansen, “We are the only ones who are in a position to offer that complete, end-to-end pharmacy automation, so we definitely expect that we will see some benefit in the form of growth.” ARxIUM is well poised to take full advantage of the $5 billion global pharmacy automation market, an industry expected to grow at an annual rate of 8 percent.

Indeed, ARxIUM is on a continuous growth path, improving the function of pharmacies worldwide, and impacting the health care industry and pharmacy industry best practices. Always focused on the development of new technologies and finding innovative ways of employing new and existing technology in revolutionary ways, this is only the beginning for ARxIUM.

To see what products and services ARxIUM has to offer, check them out at this year’s ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) Midyear Meeting at booth #2213, Conference and Exhibition taking place in New Orleans from December 6-10, 2015, or go to



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