Jacksonville hospital uses vending machine to fill prescriptions

Memorial Hospital's virtual kiosk allows patients to get prescriptions on the go

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A virtual pharmacy kiosk is turning heads at a Jacksonville hospital.

The kiosk, which is the first of its kind in Northeast Florida, allows patients to get prescriptions on the go, without traveling to a pharmacy. It's like a vending machine for medication and brings convenience while controlling access to addictive drugs like opioids. 

The kiosk caught the eye of Lisa Langston, who brought her sister to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital on Tuesday.

"You're not feeling good. You don't want to sit there and wait at the pharmacy all doggone day," Langston told News4Jax. "Over here, you put your prescription in and you got it."

Langston and her sister said it was quick and convenient to grab a prescription on the way out the door.

Here's how it works:

After you get out of the ER and you get your prescription, you can find the kiosk located in the lobby.

Push a few buttons and insert your prescription slip. You'll also need your ID. 

Then, a live pharmacist appears on the screen, ready to answer any questions you may have about the medication through video conference.

And there you have it -- your prescription in just a few minutes.

The MedAvail kiosk, which is open to the public, is stocked with more than 150 medications. The pharmacist can customize the pills depending on your needs. Health officials also have safety in mind.

"What we have in here is general medications, pain medications, antibiotics," said Memorial Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Mary Reval. "Medications that are narcotics and require a different level are available at our pharmacy. We didn't want them in our lobby."

The kiosk is one of two in the state of Florida. Depending on how well things work out with the on-the-go option, more medication kiosks could pop up across the country.