Clinical Pharmacy Apps
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The Best (FREE) Clinical Pharmacy Apps of 2019

As technology and artificial intelligence has evolved significantly over the past decade, so has the way we consume information in our daily lives whether it’s at work or at home.

As professionals and as patient’s we are using technology more and more intuitively to help support us in all aspects of life.

I firmly believe to provide the best service to your patients, you need to have the most up-to-date knowledge base and there are many apps that can help you with this.

The best clinical pharmacy apps I feel that you should be using in 2019 to ensure you have the latest and most relevant information to deliver the best possible care are:

 

The BNF

 

The BNF App

 

This is a must-have app as a pharmacist. Admittedly the old version was pretty poor. It was slow, required you to pay and login via open Athens. However, this new version is a lot more refined and responsive. It is logically presented, with hyperlinks in the text to help guide you through the content. The interaction checker is really helpful and is a quick way to check drug interaction without having to flick through the pages from the book.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

Micromedex Free Drug Reference

 

Micromedex Free Drug Reference

 

Micromedex Drug Reference is a great drug information app. It includes useful information on IV compatibility, drug interactions, and off-label indications.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

SIGN Guidelines

 

SIGN Guidelines Clinical Pharmacy Apps

 

Contains all the latest guidelines for you on the move. It also allows you to send the guidelines to yourself as a PDF document. The iPad version even has the split screen feature, really useful if you need type and read. NICE too had an app however, they have recently withdrawn it from the app store.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

Medscape

 

Medscape Clinical Pharmacy Appa

 

Amazing app! Definitely one of my personal favourite of all the clinical pharmacy apps out there! It is a great app for all healthcare professionals. It offers the latest medical news, expert-opinions, point-of-care drug and disease information and relevant professional education. It also has many more reference materials, online calculators, formularies, etc. Plenty of CPD’s can be done from this app alone!

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

MD Calc

 

MD Calc Clinical Pharmacy App

 

Ever been stuck looking for medical calculator? It contains all the calculator/scoring tool that you will ever need! A really useful app for Independent Prescribers!

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

Patient Access

 

Patient Access

 

One stop shop for patients and professionals! Patients can use this app to make appointments with their GP’s and repeat prescription service. For professionals, there are featured articles, medical tools, and resources available for their development.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

RightBreathe

 

Rightbreathe

 

Have you felt confused by the number of inhalers that are now available in the market? Gone are the days of just a ‘blue’ and a ‘brown’ inhaler. So many combinations of molecules and devices are now available, it’s difficult to know where to begin from. This is a fantastic
app to supplement your counselling on inhalers. It has information for all the inhalers available in the market and video tutorials for each of them. For healthcare professionals, they have made available treatment pathways for Asthma and COPD recommended by BTS, SIGN and NICE.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

So there you have it. The best free clinical pharmacy apps of 2019. I hope you find these apps as useful as I do in my daily life as a hospital pharmacist and as a locum community pharmacist. Technology is here to make your life easier, so harness it at work and deliver better care to your patients.

 

Mikin Patel – MPharmS, PG Clin Dip

 

 

 

 

 


 

Mikin is currently a Lead Pharmacist in Gastroenterology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. His daily life as a hospital pharmacist entails of providing clinical pharmacy services, optimising medicines management, policy & guideline writing, financial reporting and liaising with local commissioners in producing commissioning pathways for high-cost drugs (e.g. biologics). He also locums in community pharmacies on weekends to ensure his practice is up-to-date in both sectors.

Mikin is a contributing writer for Pharmacy Mentor with a keen interest in digital health. If you’re a healthcare professional passionate about how the digital revolution is transforming pharmacy and healthcare and would like to write for us, please get in touch!

 


 

Pharmacy Mentor is a marketing agency specialising in the pharmacy sector but we also help pharmacists understand what and how to use technology to improve business, practice and patient care. You can access more CPD modules here.

Automate your Pharmacy Training with Mediapharm
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Automate your Pharmacy Training with Mediapharm

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Innovative pharmacy training

There are many important factors in the running of a safe and profitable pharmacy business but the one that remains top priority are the people that work for you. Investing in your staff is investing in your business, and much of this investment has to come in the form of training.

 

The problem in pharmacy today is that once staff members complete the mandatory training required to do their job, continued training gets neglected through the day-to-day running of the business. This results in stagnant performance and demotivated staff which ultimately affects business profitability. Not ideal in the current economic climate.

 

However, we, as pharmacists, also understand the complications in organising and completing training in the pharmacy. Time is never on our side and keeping track of who has done what can be a frustrating experience.

 

That’s why Mediapharm exists.

 

The all-in-one Pharmacy Training Provider

 

MediaPharm is a complete all in one training solution for pharmacy businesses. Unlike other training suppliers, MediaPharm not only provides professional and certified GPhC training for your pharmacy staff, but their state-of-the-art software also allows you to automate the entire process.

 

With a MediaPharm subscription, you’ll have access to your own customisable and professional training dashboard, where you’ll find a load of cool features. Alerts are sent out automatically to those colleagues who are falling behind their training and managers can view real-time reporting that makes compliance a walk in the park.

 

Colleagues have unlimited access to a huge library of e-learning modules that are fun, engaging and quick to complete. They’re rewarded with digital badges to keep them motivated and we’re releasing new courses all the time meaning they will always be in the know. 

 

And as new colleagues join the business, the volume of training doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Everything is organised, in one place and courses are unlocked at their own pace. No more course fees and costly delays waiting for enrollment – everything is included in your subscription and happens automatically.

 

Furthermore, you’ll have expert and continued support from their pharmacist-led team who are always there to make sure things are running smoothly.

 

A trusted pharmacy training provider

 

Mediapharm is a pharmacy training solution you can trust. They have courses accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council and the  Royal Society for Public Health. They’ve been around since 2001 and proud to have hundreds of happy businesses using our platform. With our service, you can be sure that your staff will get the continued training they need and your pharmacy remains safe, effective and profitable.

 

The Mediapharm team have recently released the most effective and easy mandatory training modules for pharmacy teams. Check them out!

 

The Medicines Counter Assistants (MCA) Course

The Dispensing Assistant (DA) Course

 


 

If you would like Pharmacy Mentor to create a CPD Module showcasing your product and service, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

GDPR for Community Pharmacy
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Simplifying GDPR for Community Pharmacy – The Video Guide

The Evolution of Digital Health
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The Evolution of Digital Health

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO ACCESS THE LECTURE SLIDES

Have you ever seen the film Elysium? I love it. Not just because I’m a sci-fi nerd, but also because of the future concepts of digital health displayed throughout it, such as the medical machine in this scene. Yes, I know. It seems a bit far-fetched to suggest that a machine would be able to clear up cancer.

Or is it?

The film is set in 2154, 136 years from now. Can you imagine what we could achieve in that time considering what we’ve achieved in the last 10 years alone?

I am completely fascinated by how the digital world is being integrated into pharmacy and healthcare, an idea known as Digital Health. The fact is, the digital revolution is shaping how we look after our health and therefore, we as healthcare professionals, need to be up-to-date with the new innovations causing this shift.

I was kindly invited to speak at an event held by International Investors and Founders in Barcelona to talk about “The Evolution of Digital Health”. It was a great occasion with some brilliant speakers and I’m really happy I could provide some value for the day.

Below is the transcript of the slides above so you can understand what on digital earth I was going on about.

If you like me to speak at your event, then please don’t hesitate to contact me. Because I’d love to!

 

Slide 2

 

There was a point in time when I was 16 yrs old. One day, I came back home after school to find my brother very excited.

 

“What is wrong with you?” I said.

 

“Just have a look at this….” he proudly replied, raising his shiny new phone in front of me, exactly the same one you see on the screen in front of you.

 

I was confused yet completely blown away by what I was looking at.

 

“Mate. How am I seeing through your phone…?”

 

He looked at me slightly disappointed and said: “It’s got a camera on it, you idiot”

 

A camera on a phone. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And it was that precise, mesmerising moment of my life that gave me the sudden realisation that the world was changing big time.

 

Slide 3

 

That was almost 20 years ago. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking….how is this guy ageing so well? (Crowd goes wild with laughter) I’ll tell you my secrets after the presentation for those of you who are interested….

 

Slide 4

 

But the point I want to make here is that this was 20 yrs ago and the camera phone concept did change the world! It has revolutionised pretty much every major aspect of our lives since. The way we communicate, the way we work, the way we shop and is now rapidly advancing the way we look after our health.

 

This is the part I’m interested in.

 

Slide 5

 

Camera phones, which are now smartphones, are completely disrupting the healthcare system. Let say I’ve had a rash on my arm for 2 weeks and I now want to see a Doctor.

 

Slide 6

 

Less than 10 years ago, the only way of doing this was to:

 

  • Call the doctor’s surgery and book an appointment.

 

  • Visit the doctor 2 weeks later and get a paper prescription

 

  • And then go to the pharmacy with that prescription to collect the medicine

 

But now, because of the digital revolution, this system, although still very much in motion, seems archaic and very time-consuming.

 

Slide 7

 

Because what I can do now is simply:

 

  • Take a picture of the rash using my smartphone

 

  • Upload the image via the app where my doctor is there on a live feed

 

  • And in 2 hours, I’ll have the medicine delivered to the door of my house

 

The camera phone just made my life easier and saved the NHS time and money.

 

Slide 8

 

The combination of a digital device, such as the smartphone, and the healthcare system is a tiny part of the digital health revolution that is exploding in today’s society. As a pharmacist working in the tech industry myself, I’m extremely passionate and excited about the concept of digital health, and today, I’m going to give you a brief insight into what digital health means, how parts of it have evolved in the last decade and what the future might hold.

 

Presenting "The Evolution of Digital Health" in Barcelona, Spain.

Presenting “The Evolution of Digital Health” in Barcelona, Spain.

 

Slide 9

 

Paul Sonnier, the founder of Story of Digital Health and a person who has been working in the field for over 20 years, has defined the term “Digital Health” as:

 

“the convergence of the digital and genomic revolutions with health, healthcare, living, and society.”

 

A group on Facebook dedicated to Asthma is Digital Health. An app designed to help you improve yoga is Digital Health. A wristband that measures your heart rate is Digital Health.

 

Slide 10

 

It’s where both digital and healthcare worlds collide and overlap. And by digitising healthcare, it’s empowering us to better track and manage our own health, but also to make healthcare delivery more efficient, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine much more personalized and precise.

 

Now, this is a very top level description of what digital health is. Its roots extend into a complex array of factors which we will have to save for another session, but for a deeper understanding, I’d highly recommend you venture over to Paul Sonnier’s site and have a look a the information he gives there.

 

Slide 11

 

In the last decade, we’ve seen huge advancements in the digital health sphere. One of the biggest movements came right at the beginning of 2007 when the iPhone was launched and “Apps” began dominating the world. Ten years on and in 2017 alone, 3.7 billion downloads of health apps were recorded and they are now paramount in our healthcare. They help us meditate better, track our sleep, build relationships with fellow cancer sufferers and order medication super quick.

 

Slide 12

 

A couple of years later, wearable technology dented the health sector. You may have heard of Fitbit. Their first device, launched in 2009, clipped onto your trousers and tracked only your movement, sleep and calorie burn.

 

Fast forward to today and the wearable has evolved into your highly advanced health and fitness companion. Wrist-worn with high definition digital displays and a plethora of functionality including 24-hour heart rate monitoring, guided breathing sessions and dynamic on-screen workouts.

 

Slide 13

 

Right at the beginning of the presentation, I gave you the example where I was speaking to a Dr via an app. That is what we call Telehealth or Telemedicine and is now becoming much more commonplace. And rightly so. It’s saving the healthcare system tonnes of money but also improving mortality rate.

 

The rise of portal technology is allowing both patients and physicians to access medical records and interact online. By giving patients more access to their records, it’s actually empowering them to become more involved and responsible with their healthcare, and look after themselves better.

 

This decade has also seen the shift in human replacement. Self-service kiosks have replaced the registration tasks in many hospitals and GP surgeries. Not only is this saving time and money by reducing staffing levels, most patients find this an easier and more confidential process.

 

Slide 14

 

Startups in the digital health scene became more popular by the launch of venture capital platforms, such as Rock HealthIn 2014, it was recorded that over 3 billion dollars had been poured into digital health startups. The Digital Health scene was officially booming.

 

Slide 15

 

And the big health regulatory bodies around the world are now evolving with the digital revolution. Personalised medicine continues to edge closer to the forefront of the healthcare industry, and is where treatment plans will be tailored to the individual instead of a “one size fits all approach”.

 

To get to this goal, technology is advancing something called pharmacogenomics, which is helping us understand how the genetic makeup of an individual affects their response to drugs.

 

Slide 16

 

And, of course, we can’t forget about Social Media either. Social media has also been a huge driver in the advancement of digital health. PatientsLikeMe, launched in 2004, is a social platform that helps connect people with medical conditions and now have a user-base of over 600,000 people worldwide with over 2,800 conditions. Not only do these people feel more connected, the data that this company has collected is being used to develop better healthcare services and devices, which is ultimately improving people’s lives.


And there’s the big word…DATA. It’s all about data. The more data we are collecting in the healthcare space, the more amazing things we can be doing with the technology we have and will build.

 

Slide 17

 

So, what does the future of digital health look like? Well, of course, I can’t and no one else in this room can be sure what it’s going to look like exactly. However, it’s the prospects of things like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning that can certainly give us an indication of what the future might hold.

 

Slide 18

 

Dr Meskó Bertalan of The Medical Futurist sums up really well how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being applied to the healthcare sector and what will come from it in the very near future.

 

  • One of the most obvious applications of AI is data management. Google, through Deep Mind, is already using AI to mine medical records in order to provide better and faster health services.

 

  • It’s also being used to develop treatment plans. IBM’s Watson has the ability to assess clinical records and actually choose a treatment plan for a cancer patient.

 

  • One of the big ways it will help the medical sector is by assisting in repetitive tasks. Medical Sieve, is an algorithm, again launched by IBM, that is currently helping cardiologists make clinical decisions quicker and easier. This technology will no doubt take over basic decision-making, leaving the clinicians with only the most complicated of cases to deal with.

 

  • AI is now being used to triage patients. Babylon is an app that allows patients to enter their symptoms, and based on the answers, your medical history and common medical knowledge, will actually tell you what you should do and where you need to go. This kind of technology will look to save the NHS millions of pounds each year through unnecessary GP and A&E referrals.

 

  • And AI is also being applied in the creation an manufacture of drugs. This is revolutionary because drug testing often takes years to complete. With the use of AI, lots of time will be saved in the process, and therefore millions of dollars too.

 

Digital is impacting healthcare on a huge scale and as we head into the future, it will become more and more integrated. It makes complete sense. It’s going to save us time, money and ultimately improve our health.

 

Slide 19

 

But where does it stop? How intelligent are they going to become? Is this the beginning of the rise of the machines?

 

I’ll let you and Arnie ponder over those questions.

 

Slide 20

 

Thank you. For more information on how I’m helping the pharmacy sector in England, please visit Pharmacy Mentor. Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook and LinkedIn too.

 

Best,

 

Saam

 

 


 

If you’d like to talk to me about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact me and I’d be glad to assist you. Also, don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Driving Your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age, a free 70-page manual, that is really helping pharmacists understand the importance of going digital and how to create a strategy going forward.

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

 

 

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6 Extremely Useful Apps in Community Pharmacy 2017

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Are you using any Apps in practice?

Something that I believe to be just as important as having the BNF, MEP and Drug Tariff in the Community Pharmacy setting is the Smartphone. Let’s face it, the iPhone 6 is probably the most advanced piece of equipment you’ll have in your pharmacy and it’s packed full of extremely useful apps. I’m gonna mention 6 of those which I use on a very regular basis which are helping me with my business and practice.

1) Google Chrome

Number 1 is without a doubt, Google Chrome. You have literally the world at your fingertips with this app, so if you’re posed with a question you’re not sure about, just Google it! Let me give you a quick example of how I used it the other day.

A woman came into the pharmacy with a script for Zoff Adhesive remover for her diabetic son, which we didn’t have in stock. In fact, it was a manufacturing problem. So she asked us to see if we could get an alternative for her. While the dispenser I was working with scrolled slowly through the pages of the Drug Tariff and C&D, I simply flipped open Chrome and spoke to it, saying “zoff adhesive remover alternative for diabetics”. It brought me to a forum where there were loads of alternatives and actually, she ended up buying a Boots plaster remover spray which worked even better than the Zoff. Google just saved the patient loads of time and the NHS a prescription item every month. Just Google it!

Download for Apple

Download for Android

2) Google Translate

Keeping on the Google train, Google Translate is an absolute gem of an app that all pharmacist must have. If posed with a patient who struggles with the same language as you, Google translate will help you. Simply select the language of the patient and speak into the app. Extremely useful and important in making sure the patient understands what you’re advising.

Download for Apple

Download for Android

3) Medscape

While the BNF remains the number one reference for clinical dosages in the UK, Medscape, in my opinion, is the best Clinical App for pharmacists out there. It’s the user interface that does it for me – very easy to navigate and the knowledge base is outstanding. It’s what I use to check clinical conditions, drug interactions, symptoms and treatment options.

Download for Apple

Download for Android

4) Facebook

Since I run a Social Media strategy for the pharmacy I’m contracted to, the Facebook app is imperative. But not only can I drive the business through the Facebook app, it’s extremely handy in helping me with specific pharmacy queries because of the groups I’m part of. If I have a query with a prescription I’m not sure about, for example, I can post it to the group where 5000 other pharmacists will see it and advise me of the best course of action.

Download for Apple

Download for Android

5) Pro Delivery Manager

Now, I lied at the start of this blog when I said I’ve used all of these apps because I haven’t used Pro Delivery Driver. I’m sorry about that. Having said that, I have full confidence that this app is going to be extremely useful for Independents and I’m trying to get the chain I work with to trial it. They claim to improve efficiencies and communication with customers and the Social Proofing seems to back this up. Are you using Pro Delivery Driver? If so, let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

Download for Apple

Download for Android

6) Trello

And finally, I can’t not mention Trello – the best productivity app in the world. I use it every day to schedule my tasks in the pharmacy and share objectives with the team across the company. It just makes communication so much better.

Download for Apple

Download for Android

Apps make your business and practice easier

 

So there you have it, the smartphone and some apps that go with it making life so much easier for me in the pharmacy. Of course, there are so many other apps that pharmacists and pharmacies are using to benefit their business and practice, and I’d love to hear about them. If you’d like to share how you might be using an app, comment below so our fellow colleagues can check them out.

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

Saam

 

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Organise your Pharmacy
Workload and Life with Trello

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Action

In this CPD Action module, I’m going to show you how you can use an application called Trello to help you organise the workload in your pharmacy, but also to help you organise most things in your life.

It’s something that I use every day and has significantly boosted my productivity as well as those I collaborate with on there.

What is Trello and how does it work?

Trello is an online productivity tool, free to use, and is essentially a dashboard where you’re able to create Boards and Lists for anything you like. Within each list, you can create cards, and within these cards, you can do all sorts of things, such as attach notes, links, pictures, and deadlines. Your boards, lists and cards can also be shared with others.

Trello is great for overseeing everything that you need to do visually. It’s simple yet powerful and diverse, can help structure your tasks very effectively and can be accessed pretty much everywhere.

How can it help you in the Pharmacy?

You can use Trello to organise all facets of work in the pharmacy, all under one roof – that’s why I love it so much. For example:

Use it to organise your staff

You can set up a board named “Staff” and within this, you can have a list for each employee you manage, and assign them various cards, such as keeping a record of holidays.

Create boards for specific pharmacy topics

You could name a board “Clinical Governance” and begin building lists in there to structure exactly how you’re going to get it done. Or you could name a board “Quality Payments” and then begin to list the criteria on cards with direct links their relevant instructions on the PSNC website.

Create a board for potential business and prospects

Let’s say you’ve created a Board for GP surgeries and in there you have a list specific for the Manchester Road surgery. A while back you made a card to arrange a meeting with the Practice Manager for a specific day. You can move this card to a list of things that need to be done today or tomorrow and it will show up in there.

Create a board centred around your CPD

You might have a board specific for your CPD learning. Create lists around certain topics and if you find a learning module that you’d like to complete, create a card with a direct link attached to it and set a date and time that you’d like to get it done by. The options really are endless with this tool.

Trello can be used to organise other aspects of your life

I don’t just use Trello for the work I do in the Pharmacy. I have various lists for personal and admin tasks that I need to get done, and I use it extensively for the business I run online. I’m continuously updating new tasks and archiving them once complete, and not only do I know I’m getting things done, I feel a sense of achievement as I do so.

Evaluation

I’ve used plenty of productivity tools in my time and this one tops all of them. The ease of its use and functionality make my work and personal life much more seamless and stress-free, and I’m only using the basic, free option. It might not be for everyone, but if you like to be organised like me, it can make a big difference to your overall productivity and getting things done quicker.

Question time…

  • What other productivity tools do you use?
  • Do you have any other tips about using Trello?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if you found this module useful, it would be great if you could share it with your colleagues.

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

Saam

 

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How to Delegate Effectively – The R.I.D. System

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Reflection

What are we going to learn?

In this module, we’re going to learn about how to delegate effectively as a pharmacist in a team.

How and why is this learning relevant?

The ability to delegate well is such an important asset for a pharmacist and leader of a team because it can significantly improve productivity in all facets of work. However, mastering delegation isn’t easy. It’s a skill that requires practice, experience and time and is something that many pharmacists struggle with, particularly in the early stages of their career and when starting in a new working environment.

Delegation is an essential part of our work. If we can delegate most of the tasks that do not require our input, our work life will improve remarkably. In this module, I’m going to show you a system I have developed called the R.I.D system, R.I.D meaning getting RID of tasks, which when implemented, will always help you delegate more successfully.

Planning and Action

Why is this learning important?

Let’s break down why this learning is important for you, your colleagues, your patients and the organisation you work for.

Pharmacist – There are so many benefits for you as a pharmacist if you know how to delegate effectively. Delegating more of your tasks to others will free up your time in the pharmacy, reduce your workload and allow you to get things done quicker. It’s a leadership skill that can take you further personally and professionally.

Colleagues – By delegating tasks to your staff, it shows that you trust them to do the job and gives them more sense of responsibility. You’ll be upskilling your team and improving overall performance.

Patients – In a well-delegated team, workplace productivity is improved and this ultimately leads to better patient satisfaction. The happier, more organised we are at work, the better a patient is served.

Organisation – And finally, your organisation is gonna love you. You’ll be seen as a solid leader amongst your team which might open up other doors for you within the company.

What can we do to delegate more effectively?

Know your staff

Before I get into the details of the RID system, it’s worth mentioning this first. If you’re going into a new place of work and want to begin delegating quickly and effectively, the best way to do so is by getting to know your staff on a personal level first. It’s so much easier to delegate a task to a dispenser when you already have a relationship with them because a level of trust has already been established. This is a fantastic reference from CarnegieCoach.com which gives you guidance on how you can build bonds with your staff quickly.

Explain the “REASONS” why the task needs doing

The first part of the RID system is to explain the “reasons” why the task your delegating is important. Too often, a task is given to a dispenser with no background to it and therefore it is:

  • Less likely to be adhered to, and
  • Seen more as an “order” rather than a meaningful task

For example, let’s say you want to delegate the job of completing an annual complaints report for your pharmacy to Jen, one of your dispensers.

Instead of saying, “Hi Jen. I need you to create this report for me, please. This needs doing then that needs doing…”

You could say “Hi Jen. I have this task that needs doing. Now, the reason behind it is that as part of our Clinical Governance requirements for pharmacy, we need to submit all of our complaints to the NHS…”

Jen might turn around and ask more about what Clinical Governance is which is great! She’s clearly interested in the job, happy to learn more and purpose is being built around it.

Outline the “INSTRUCTIONS” involved

Once you’ve explained why the reasons behind the task, you need to give them specific instruction on how to complete it. So, going back to the previous example, once you’ve explained to Jen the reasons the report needs doing, you can say something like:

“To get this done, you need to go onto this site and collate all of the information on a word document as such”.

Write the steps down on a piece of paper if Jen finds it easier and make sure each action has been understood.

Give them a “DEADLINE”

And finally, you need to give them a deadline to get the task done. By giving them a time-frame, it gives the person more responsibility for the task. So once you’ve checked their understanding of the actions involved, you could say something like:

“Great. So, I was thinking this could be done for 3pm on Thursday which gives us time to look over it. How does that sound?”

By making the deadline a question, again, you’re giving them more responsibility and ownership of the task and you can both come to an agreement together.

Trust and Support

One more thing to add here is the importance of trusting them to do the work and making sure they know you’re there for support only. Don’t keep checking up or peering over them to make sure they’re doing it right. Let them get on with it and just be there on hand if they have any questions.

Evaluation

Delegation mastery is no easy feat. It requires practice, dedication and a commitment to make it a successful habit, but applying the principles above can help you achieve this. When you know how to delegate more effectively, your work becomes more enjoyable, your team will be more productive as a whole, and you’ll be developing such an important personal skill that can be transferred into all areas of your life.

If you’re new to delegation, then begin by delegating small tasks such as admin work for MUR’s or some other paperwork you may have, but always remember the principles in this module.

Question time…

  • What problems do you have when delegating to others?
  • Do you have any tips about how to delegate better?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if you found this module useful, it would be great if you could share it with your colleagues.

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

Saam

 

Dispensing errors
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5 Practical Ways to Reduce Dispensing Errors

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Reflection

What are we going to learn?

In this module, we’re going to learn about 5 practical methods of reducing the rate of dispensing errors in the pharmacy.

How and why is this learning relevant?

This is always a hot topic in the pharmacy world and has recently come to light with a couple of significant dispensing errors we’ve seen on the news. We as pharmacists are under mounting pressures and it’s always in our best interest to revise ways in which we practice to reduce the incidence of errors.

Planning and Action

Why is this learning important?

Dispensing errors represent risks in all areas of our profession. First and foremost, for the patient, it’s a health risk, for us as pharmacists, it’s classed as poor professional performance and could lead to criminalisation in some circumstances, for our colleagues, it could pose working relationship issues, and for the organisation we work for, it could damage their brand. Reducing the incidents of errors is absolutely in everyone’s best interest.

What can we do to reduce dispensing error rate?

1) REDUCE STRESS

One of the biggest underlying causes of dispensing errors is stress and being over-worked. The pharmacy can be a very stressful environment and we may be bringing personal stress into the workplace too. This combination will inevitably affect our judgment and dispensing errors are likely to happen.

Use the Pomodoro Technique.

Particularly in a very busy dispensing pharmacy, after every 25 minutes of checking items solidly, simply take a five-minute break from doing so – whatever the circumstance. There is evidence to suggest that this method improves focus by breaking down tasks, and therefore, if used when checking items, could help to reduce errors. It has been particularly effective for me in high volume dispensing, as well as other tasks I perform.

Click here for more info on the Pomodoro Technique

Exercise and Meditation.

Exercise and meditation are both proven methods of reducing stress levels and improving focus. The more we can reduce the levels of stress in our lives, the less error we’ll make at work. I highly recommend using an app called Headspace. This is helping to transform the lives of so many people and requires that you practice meditation for only 10 minutes a day.

 

This app can help to reduce your levels of stress and improve your focus

 

Talk to your colleagues/superiors.

I know that getting help in the pharmacy is difficult, especially if you work for a big corp where the budget is capped and rules can’t be bent, but simply talking to a colleague about your stress or feeling of being overworked can help to alleviate your levels of stress quite dramatically.

2) KEEP YOUR PHARMACY ORGANISED, CLEAN AND TIDY

Clutter and lack of organisation prevent optimum workflow and can cloud your thoughts, which can ultimately lead to dispensing errors. This needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

Minimalise your pharmacy

Get rid of anything you do not need in your pharmacy. Paperwork, excess books, folders, the items you have stored behind your computer – get rid of it. A clear pharmacy is a clear mind. Rota this in once a week to clear the clutter.

3) IDENTIFY SIMILAR SOUNDING / LOOKING DRUGS

This accounts for one-third of all dispensing errors. By making sure we take full caution when dispensing these, we will reduce the rate or error.

Place “alerts” in the right places

On the shelves of your pharmacy, stick “Red” stickers on the boxes of all of the medicines that could be confusing – you will know which ones.

And on your computer system, create alerts that will fire every time you dispense these items. Make sure all dispensers are trained and up to speed with this initiative.

4) COUNSEL THE PATIENT UPON GIVING OUT THE MEDICINE

As a locum, I’ve seen such a variety of procedures, but one that I think should be mandatory is intervening upon handing out medication.

Talk to the patient 

Can be done by dispenser or pharmacist and it’s a simple case of asking the patient to look in their bag to see if they have the correct medication before they leave the pharmacy. Likewise, if time permits, you could do this for them – the patient will be happy that you’re taking extra care.

5) COMMUNICATE WITH DISPENSERS WHO ARE MAKING TOO MANY NEAR-MISSES

Although It is mandatory that a pharmacy has a near miss procedure in store, the biggest problem I see in pharmacies is the lack of communication between pharmacist and dispenser about the near misses.

Communicate privately and with compassion 

Take the dispenser into the consultation room and talk to them about why they might be making errors, and work together to find a solution to reduce the rate of occurrence. Communicating with your team effectively is everything.

Evaluation

Applying some of the principles and techniques described in this module can no doubt help reduce the rate of dispensing error and prevent the risks associated with them. Most importantly, try to get into a better habit of procedure by applying what you’ve learned every single day, and communicate with your team around this on a regular basis.

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

Saam