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