Cool Pharmacy Technology – Eyecon Visual Counting System

It’s hard to imagine that pharmacies still manually count medications and pour them into bottle for distribution to patients, but it goes on all the time. Even large pharmacies that have robotic dispensing systems still have to manually dispense a fair number of medications for one reason or another.

Eyecon by RxMedic is an automated counting system for oral medications that uses barcode scanning technology and “machine vision” to ensure accurate medication dispensing.

Some things that I thought were interesting about Eyecon:

  • It uses barcode scanning technology to ensure that the correct medication is being used, i.e. Eyecon scans the medication barcode against the prescription label. When used properly this a good way to prevent putting the wrong drug in the patient’s bottle.
  • Use of “machine vision” to perform counting. I’m not entirely sure what “machine vision” technology is, but I hear the term often enough; especially when looking at compounding robots. According to the company, Eyecon can “detect pill fragments or foreign matter in the counting platter and alert the operator”. That’s a nice feature.
  • There are separate trays for “sulfa” and “penicillin”. You frequently see tray segregation like this in outpatient pharmacies due to fear of cross contamination and patient allergies. This little feature tells me that the person that designed Eyecon has practical experience in a pharmacy.

Couple of Eyecon videos below. The first shows a general overview of Eyecon from 2010. The second shows Eyecon being used to fill a prescription using barcode scanning technology. There are several videos posted on YouTube. Just search for “Eyecon”.

From the RxMedic Website:

“The Eyecon is a compact and powerful Automated Counting System (ACS). It can fit easily onto a 48″ square surface. Eyecon fits on most countertops with the following measurements: 28″ Hx 11” Wx 17.5 D; it weighs only 16-18 pounds. The full-color LCD flat panel touchscreen is 6.5 inches.

The Automated Counting System employs machine vision technology. A camera mounted above the counting platter captures photo images used to count pills five times per second. The technician or pharmacist simply scans the NDC barcode on the customer’s prescription label then validates the order with a stock bottle to ensure accuracy. Eyecon then proceeds to counting mode. The technician can use digital pill counting or select color-coded pill counts. The final step is to slide pills into a funnel and dispense them into a patient vial.

Eyecon also stores records of prescriptions filled, which are exported into spreadsheet programs so inventory can be managed with ease.”

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