Digital enablement

ICON_ CP2025 Digital Enablement
Integrate digital health into community pharmacy practice and embrace digital technologies as a whole-of-business enabler.


What is the pathway?

Integrate digital health into the community pharmacy practice and embrace digital technologies as a whole-of-business enabler.
Priorities for development include:

  1. Integrating digital health records into your pharmacy’s clinical practice
  2. Utilising digital platforms to improve medication advice, management and safety
  3. Enabling pharmacy with basic digital functions such as search engines, maps and a social media presence
  4. Developing online retailing channels for front-of-shop products

Why make the change?

Digital technologies are a fundamental enabler (e.g. digital engagement with patients to improve medicine adherence, remote monitoring, digitally enabled screening and point of care testing). Integrating digital health into pharmacy practice enhances patient safety, enables more personalised care, creates clinical efficiencies, and drives collaboration. Online retailing is increasingly important to compete with discounters and online retailers.

The opportunity for pharmacies

Digital health will integrate the core medicines expertise of community pharmacy with the wider health system. Increased knowledge sharing, data analytics, tele-health and virtual health will enhance this collaboration.

Electronic scripts, prescription exchanges, automated medicines packing, and data-driven medicines interventions will increase the amount of community pharmacists’ time spent on patient care rather than administrative tasks.

The introduction of online retailing channels will open up new sales opportunities for community pharmacy. Given the dynamic nature of online retailing, the initial volume and type of sales may be volatile and hard to predict.

What happens if I don't make the change?

Unless community pharmacy embraces digital health it cannot integrate with the wider health system, reducing its ability to move beyond medicine supply. It will be less able to offer personalised health solutions working with other health providers. If pharmacy does not have a competitive online presence, it is more open to the risk of online retailers providing direct-to-home prescriptions and targeting front-of-shop products.

Champion

You are not alone – champion story
Cathie Reid – Epic Pharmacy, South Brisbane, QLD

Cathie is on the cutting edge of pharmacy innovation due to her deep experience and skill set. She knows that digital prescribing, digitally enabled health applications and wearables have a role in the pharmacy of the future, especially in relation to enhancing medication adherence and safety. If pharmacy is proactive in ensuring it has a place in the new digital health landscape, Cathie knows it can continue to be a successful healthcare destination.

Cathie believes that data presents currently unheralded opportunities for pharmacists and their patients. To take advantage, pharmacists need to understand the role data plays and adapt the way they engage with their patients.

“If Australian community pharmacy is not prepared to ensure they are digitally enabled, doctors and nurses will take this space. Even if people don’t know about new technologies it doesn’t mean they will not become mainstream. This can happen extremely quickly, and it is essential to be proactive.”

Read more

Market Research

Digital enablement is positively received by patients with most (57 per cent) indicating they would use pharmacy digital and online tools. However, there is a low willingness to pay more for online or digital services or enablement (29 per cent strongly oppose any fees) as patients like the concept but do not perceive it to be a value-add that pharmacies can justify as a fee paying service.

Orima Market Research Report - September 2018 (members only)

Quick wins

Register for the My Health Record. 

Ensure your pharmacy is listed on Find A Pharmacy and Google’s search engine and maps at: google.com/business

What can I do now?

  1. Get started! Digital enablement is less daunting if you make it part of your everyday decision making
  2. If you haven’t done so, register for the My Health Record and identify how it can be used to enhance clinical practice in your pharmacy
  3. Check that your pharmacy’s details are up-to-date on the myGuild member portal. This will ensure your location, opening hours and services are correct on findapharmacy.com.au
  4. Ensure your pharmacy is listed on Google’s search engine and maps by going to google.com/business/ and following the steps on the front page
  5. Ensure that your pharmacy’s data is secure and that you have cyber insurance
  6. Investigate template websites and fulfilment platforms (online e-commerce offerings) and identify how best to deliver online orders, including self and partner-fulfilment models
  7. Put in place an electronic services recording platform, if possible integrated with the broader digital health system
  8. Set up a services booking system and integrate with your website
  9. Implement a script reminder service (via text or email) using a 3rd party application
  10. Investigate what stock you will sell online, pricing and how you will integrate with your POS
  11. Develop a digital marketing and social media plan and train your staff in the use of digital media tools
  12. Identify possible online trading platforms to sell your products into new markets

Who do I talk to?

Go to the My Health Record website to register for the My Health Record. Seek advice from Gold Cross on how to build a website. Talk to GuildLink about their digital platforms.

More information

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Page last updated 31 July 2019