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Patient safety key to technology at new Omnicell Center of Excellence in St. Pete

Margie Manning

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Omnicell can show off its technology at the Customer Briefing Center at its St. Pete plant.

A revamp of Omnicell’s St. Petersburg manufacturing plant is part of a company initiative to move pharmacists to the center of patient care.

The company has created a Center of Excellence at the facility in the Gateway area in north St. Petersburg, showcasing its pharmacy automation and software. There’s a new customer briefing center where healthcare systems and pharmacies can get a first-hand look at the technology and learn about Omnicell’s Autonomous Pharmacy, a digital approach that will allow nurses and pharmacists to move away from manual workflows and spend their time on patient care.

Omnicell (Nasdaq: OMCL), based in Mountain View, California, held a grand opening for the Center of Excellence Wednesday at the St. Pete plant, which makes products designed to ensure patients take medicine as prescribed,  including packaging for specific doses and equipment for fulfilling the packaging.

More than 39 million Americans take five or more medications a day. Failing to take those drugs properly accounts for $100 billion to $289 billion in healthcare costs annually and 125,000 deaths, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Medication adherence has always been a really important part of Omnicell’s strategy. It’s clear with the vision of the autonomous pharmacy, the role is really important to the future of Omnicell and our aim, to improve healthcare for everyone,” said Bruce Craig, senior director of manufacturing.

Omnicell isn’t saying how much it spent on the 20-month construction project at the 132,000-square-foot St. Pete facility, the largest of the company’s plants and formerly the headquarters of MTS Medication Technologies. Omnicell bought MTS for $156 million in 2012.

The customer briefing center at Omnicell’s St. Petersburg plant.

The Customer Briefing Center is a key feature of the revamp.

“It’s a dedicated space where potential customers and customers, colleagues, business professionals can come to St. Pete and talk about the challenges with their business or a specific scenario and then to be able to see Omnicell’s technology in use and help evaluate how it can improve their situation,” Craig said.

There’s an engineering lab with examples of the company’s single-dose and multi-med packaging equipment, as well as a mock pharmacy, where Omnicell can simulate multi-med workflows.

“It’s going to give a very close to real customer experience in how our technology can help them,” Craig said. “They’ll also be able to see Omnicell’s sampling of adherence products, not only the consumables, but also the automation.”

Omnicell’s investment in healthcare technology and robotics aligns with the city’s Grow Smarter economic development strategy, said City Council Member Brandi Gabbard.

““Investment in new technologies and new products is an important source of economic growth for our region,” Gabbard said in a written statement.

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