A team of top programmers and engineers is hired. Basing their efforts on sound robotics concepts, tried and trusted principles in the pharmacy field, and a healthy dose of creativity, they design the first SynMed system. It takes more than four years of research, development, and thorough testing before the first device is ready to be brought to market.
In January 2008, the first SynMed system is put into service in a high-volume pharmacy environment in Montreal. That same year, three other pharmacies acquire a SynMed system, providing valuable observations and suggestions that allow us to further improve the system’s performance.
The first drugstore chain purchases a SynMed system with the aim of centralizing the production for several pharmacies. The pharmacists quickly realize how much simpler their operations are when blister card preparation tasks are handled by their SynMed system. From then on, the number of stores wanting to benefit from our services grows steadily, and by the end of the year 15 pharmacies have adopted our technology.
The first U.S.-based pharmacy purchases a SynMed system. Following a visit with several Quebec-based pharmacists using the system, the U.S. pharmacy realizes how well-adapted our distribution system is for the needs of an ageing clientele who choose to live at home rather than in long-term care facilities. The pharmacy sees an opportunity to provide blister pack services to specialized organizations for this type of clientele. They now service over 12,000 such patients and demand continues to grow!
As our customer list tops 60, SynMed expands its activities into the complete range of pharmacy sectors: community pharmacies focused on over-the-counter and delivery services, pharmacies catering to residential homes or long-term care facilities, and central-fill facilities serving several pharmacies. Development of the Synlmage module begins — a medication image bank that allows for printing double-sided color labels and including high-resolution images of all the medications contained in the pack, as well as an optional range of practical reference information for the benefit of customers and pharmacy staff.
Synergy Medical continues installing the SynMed system in various pharmacy environments in the United States and Canada. More than 100 pharmacies now benefit from the precision and efficiency associated with our technology. Synergy Medical initiates the process for obtaining ISO 9001:2009 certification to formalize our sound operational practices, and to provide added value to our customers.
The SynMed Assist (SMA) module is developed to further improve safety and peace-of-mind for our pharmacist customers. Errors are diminished and efficiency is boosted when positioning “exception drugs” using this secure system. The SMA interface with touchscreen and barcode readers helps guide pharmacy technicians to accurately position exception drugs before their SynMed begins production. The SynMed Assist module is now included with each robot purchase, and is occasionally purchased on a standalone basis to improve manual production, with the intention of purchasing a robot at a later date.
Synergy Medical Europe, Ltd. is established due to growing demand in the U.K. pharmacy market for our technology. Our team quickly grows to six members with more than 25 systems installed by the end of year two. U.K. pharmacies’ manual blister pack preparation volumes continue to grow, and our team is well-established with an infrastructure foothold for further expansion in Europe.
The first SynMed ULTRA is introduced following three years of development and an 18-month pilot phase, with the first unit installed in Chambly, Quebec. Three times faster than the standard SynMed system and with only 1.5x the footprint, the technology is unrivaled on the market. Demand for the new system soon exceeds expectations. The number of SynMed robots installed in North America and Europe reaches 300. Canada’s biggest drugstore chain with 1400 stores, Shoppers Drug Mart, launches a central-fill blister pack production pilot project. By integrating SynMed technology into its operations, the company achieves millions of dollars in annual savings. To this day, Shoppers Drug Mart operates the largest central-fill facilities using SynMed technology. ISO 9001:2015 certification is obtained, and the number of SynMed employees surpasses 100.
CVS/Omnicare, Guardian Pharmacy, and McKesson choose SynMed as their automation partner, and 100 more SynMed systems are installed globally. Major investments are made to enhance our SynMed production lines so we are better able to meet the growing demand for our technology. The transition toward lean manufacturing and the introduction of the Kaizen and 5S methods ensure we can manufacture with greater efficiency and flexibility.
SynMed Check modules are introduced, a new technology that makes it possible to identify any potential errors during the blister pack production process. Three distinct modules interfaced with SynSoft integrate with our existing technologies.
The 500th SynMed XF and 100th SynMed ULTRA are manufactured and installed. Synergy Medical and Parata Systems merge to create a new leader in pharmacy automation.