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New Rx ATM at Lake View

The InstyMed dispenser allows patients access to medication after normal business hours. InstyMed

Right on the heels of its new urgent care unit, Lake View Memorial Hospital in Two Harbors has installed an automatic pill dispenser for patients who find themselves at the hospital outside of normal business hours.

The InstyMed dispenser is located near the urgent care unit and can be stocked with up to 120 prescriptions, which patients can access using their credit or debit card, insurance information and a unique code given to them by their doctor.

"The benefit is [patients] don't have to wait," Laura Comrie, director of nursing, said.

There are two pharmacies in Two Harbors and one in Silver Bay, but their hours do not extend into the evening and they're only open 8-hours on Saturday. There are no Sunday hours.

"We wanted to fill that void," Comrie said.

So far, LVMH has the machine stocked with 80 of their most commonly prescribed medications, and Comrie said patients have been pleasantly surprised with the new option. "People have liked it."

It's great for locals as well as visitors, she said. The hospital made sure to stock the machine with a few common over-the-counter medications, too--particularly useful for parents who come into the hospital with their children, needing quick treatment for ear aches or fevers at odd hours.

LVMH estimates that 20 to 30 percent of prescriptions written by doctors go unfulfilled and they hope the convenience of InstyMed will help improve the likelihood patients receive their medications.

According to their website, InstyMed was founded by a doctor in the early 2000s after she couldn't find a pharmacy open at 10 p.m. to fill a prescription for her son's ear ache. The company is based in Minneapolis and has InstyMed dispensers in 34 states.