Technology is causing swift transformations in the methods that pharmacies now use to manage and dispense drugs and medications. Advances in diagnostics, automation, and analytics help pharmacists provide better customer service, while also improving patient outcomes and logistical efficiency. The good news is that many of these new technologies are scalable and flexible, which means that pharmacies can gradually integrate new functions into the systems they already use.
We put together TempAlert’s top 11 technologies that pharmacies should consider implementing in 2018—if you haven’t already.
Pharmacy Management Systems
What is it? Pharmacy management systems include software applications that track adherence and flag non-adherent patients who may require interventions. Software can also be used to design clinical programs customized to meet the needs of specific patients.
The benefits: Better management of ordering, labeling, stock control, dispensing, and recordkeeping.
Health Information Technology (HIT)
What is it? Health information technology (HIT)is a comprehensive assortment of tools to manage and share patient information digitally (replacing phone, fax, and paper).
The benefits: Enhance patient care, improve patient outcomes, and reduce costs; increase pharmacist’s involvement in patient care.
Drug Inventory Management
What is it? Drug inventory management uses predictive analytics to track dispensing trends so that staff can stay on top of inventory by ordering and stocking medications proactively rather than reactively when they run out.
The benefits: Efficiently manage inventory, and reduce the costs of labor and of maintaining idle stock.
Electronic Prescribing (EP) Systems
What is it? Electronic prescribing (EP) systems automate management, prescribing, supply, and administration of medicines between hospitals and pharmacies.
The benefits: Seamless patient care; well-timed and precise communication of a patient’s discharge prescription; fewer errors to improve patient outcomes and ensure patient safety.
What is it? Adherence monitoring uses “smart packaging,” a blister pack embedded with a microchip that monitors when doses are removed and alerts the patient to record any side-effects. This data is then transmitted to a mobile device.
The benefits: Drug adherence in the United States is dismal, especially for drugs used to treat chronic and costly medical conditions. Patients who adhere to their medication regimen report improved health outcomes and reduced health care spending.
What is it? Telecare uses audio-visual digital communications technologies that deliver health care consultations and services to patients remotely.
The benefits: Empowers the patient to take more control of their care; increases access to health care by reducing hospital stays for patients with limited mobility or who live in remote areas; reduces the costs, time, and money of travel for health care professionals.
What is it? Automated dispensing involves robotic systems and tablet counters that replace manual dispensing onsite.
The benefits: Improves accuracy, increases dispensing speed, and optimizes pharmacy space; frees up pharmacist and staff to answer patient questions and provide better consultation services.
What is it? Health wearables are mobile devices that patients can wear to monitor their health, which generate information about patients related to their health condition and prescribed drugs.
The benefits: Collecting continuous data about patients health gives pharmacists insight into the patient’s health data.
What is it? Among dozens of mobile apps to choose from, some of the best include those that can automate repeat prescription refills, send alerts that prescriptions are ready for pickup, allow access to patient medical histories, and list potential drug interactions.
The benefits: Huge time saver for both patients and pharmacist; provides patients peace of mind.
What is it? Secure web-based platforms are available from various providers to support enhanced pharmacy services, such as shopping, ordering, shipping, and delivery of over-the-counter pharmaceutical supplies.
The benefits: An online store will help your pharmacy meet the 21st century retail expectations of the general public.
What is it? Pharmaceuticals need to be stored within specific temperature ranges. Typically, pharmacists track temperature twice daily. Continuous temperature monitoring devices go right into your coolers and freezers taking temperature readings at an average interval of every 15 minutes.
The benefits: By deploying a continuous monitoring system, you can ensure your medications and vaccines are always within a safe range. This also frees up the time of pharmacists and allows them to spend more time with patients.
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
There are three good reasons to consider adopting new technologies for your pharmacies:
Increased customer expectations
Increased performance expectations for reimbursement
Consider adopting one or more of these innovations in 2018 to better connect staff to patients, improve workflows, and create logistical efficiencies that reduce costs and provide added revenues.