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Digital health pharmacy
With so much focus on streamlining business practices and revenues, it’s easily forgotten that Digital Health is ultimately about improving patient health. We’ll look at four great digital health solutions to offer in your pharmacy in 2021 which benefit your patient as much as your pharmacy.

 

digital health services revolutionising patient care

There are lots of services to offer in your pharmacy, but we’re highlighting some of the top ones for 2021.

The Digital Health services to offer in your pharmacy

 

1. TympaHealth

 

TympaHealth’s range of ear health has brought another service for pharmacies to offer to their communities, and it’s absolutely taken off across the UK.

 

The Technology

As shown in the video above, TympaHealth integrates health technology with mobile technology. It also combines the ability to conduct hearing tests and micro-suction into one piece of kit.

Benefits of the service

With most GP’s dropping the ear wax removal during COVID-19, patients are actively seeking out the service. If your pharmacy is appearing on search engines when people search for “ear wax treatment” or similar, you’ll be reaping the rewards already.

Micro-suction, for example. typically takes between 10-20 minutes per appointment, with most prices around £50. So it’s decent bang for your buck. If you automate the process for booking appointments, you really begin driving your profit/minute conversion into an attractive proposition for your pharmacy.

The TympaHealth offering provides more than just ear wax removal, and the process is one that assures patients that their overall ear health is in good hands. This assurance and professional service gives confidence in your pharmacy’s ability to deliver other services, too.

As far as initial services to trial, moving towards a more service-driven pharmacy model, TympaHealth’s Ear Health service is a great place to start in 2021.

 

2. Allergy Testing

 

The world has never been more self-aware and proactive when it comes to intolerances and allergies. One only has to stroll down the dairy aisle of a supermarket and see all the Lactose-free products on offer to know that intolerances and allergies are at the forefront of people’s minds nowadays.

 

 

The Technology

PharmaDoctor partnered with Klarify.me who innovated DIY Allergy Test Kits for people to order and carry out at home. The Klarify test kits detect the body’s reactions to allergen extracts and components, which allows for comprehensive precision testing on hundreds of allergens.

The PharmaDoctor service gives you the accredited training necessary for delivering the service for patients. It’s a useful service, as a lot of patients struggle extracting blood themselves.

Easy Upsell

Someone buying Antihistamines? Just as you look for warning signs with health conditions, allergies are now something you can screen for and test, without having to refer anyone externally.

Benefits of going private

Of course, allergy tests are available through the NHS, but an allergy test service offers the benefit of not having to a) wait months to find out if you can eat or drink a certain foodstuff and b) keep a food diary in attempts to try and determine the source of intolerance.

If you’re in an affluent area where people invest money to save themselves time, this service could be very popular.

3. Pharmaself24

 

Pharmaself24 brings ATM technology to prescriptions. Think about that. How much more convenient did the banking experience become when withdrawing cash didn’t require queueing up and speaking to someone? Not only for the patients but for the banks. It meant the tellers could give more useful services to people who needed more complicated problems solving.

It’s hardly a secret in the industry that margins on prescriptions have put a lot of pressure on pharmacies to come up with alternative solutions to increase their revenue, in some cases to stay afloat. It doubles up as both a convenient service and efficient automation, Pharmaself24 is a great way for your pharmacy to automate the collection of medicines, become more convenient for patients, and free up your staff’s valuable time.

 

 

The Technology

The tech works in a similar way to an Amazon lock-box.

  1. The patient registers with you for the service.
  2. They re-order their prescription as usual (hopefully through a prescription-reordering app).
  3. You prepare the prescription as usual.
  4. Once prepared, and loaded into the Pharmaself, a text alerts the patient that their prescription is ready for collection and gives them a PIN for the machine.
  5. The patient collects their prescription whenever they want, 24/7.
  6. As it’s all digitised, the Pharmaself24 keeps a full audit trail from loading to collection.

It’s an incredible solution for your patients. During the pandemic, it really hammered home its utility, offering a chance to collect prescriptions without any need to come into contact with another person. See how we drove 100’s of EPS Sign-ups through Pharmaself24 marketing.

In a post-pandemic world, the value of a Prescription Collection Machine is intrinsic to customer convenience. And customer convenience is in turn, crucial to customer retention. 24/7 collection is so convenient for the working population, as well as people whose work shifts change.

Why would you queue, or collect at hours that don’t suit you, when you don’t have to?

Competitive Customer Convenience

Customer convenience isn’t a problem when you don’t have convenient competition. But the second someone else is offering 24/7 collection nearby, you’re going to start losing customers. Why wait until you’re losing customers? You could be the one with the machine and accumulating more customers.

Another source of this competition is online pharmacies. They already offer an extremely convenient service. But people might actually prefer to collect their prescriptions. People living in a block of flats for instance may have delivery difficulties. People who aren’t at home a lot might not want their prescriptions sat on their doorstep getting rained on. It’s not going to be the biggest source of people signing up, but it’s another string to your convenient bow.

With digital health in mind, this is a great service for patients. Many patients often complain about their prescriptions not being ready on time. Their dependence on their medication makes timeliness a major concern for them. Streamlining the process and giving round-the-clock access to collections severely reduces prescription dispensing time and decreases occurrences of patients going without medication (whoever’s fault it is).

For so many reasons, Prescription Collection Machines like the Pharmaself24 are absolutely one of the top digital health innovations to adopt in 2021.

Already offer Prescription Collection or are planning to? Check out our Pharmaself24 marketing packs to massively increase EPS sign-ups in your community.

 

4. Instant Dentist

When it comes to convenience, and tech which disrupts industries, Dental Health is a prime example.

 

 

Dentists have one of the ultimate reputations for being hard to get an appointment with. By the time a toothache gets seen to, it’s too late – it’s either gone away or there was no stitch in time to save the nine. The attraction of Instant Dentist is banishing that barrier.

The Technology

As you can see in the video above, Instant Dentist works via photos and questions uploaded through an app, which Online Dentists then use to make assessments. (It’s probably a good idea to dedicate a private space in your pharmacy for people to take these photos to avoid embarrassment.) The Online Dentists then communicate with the patients via the app to prescribe treatment or products for their issue.

Why should I offer the service?

Boots on the ground, to use the old military phrase. People will love the very concept of Instant Dentist, so it’s a great thing to stick in your windows, preferably on an eye-catching digital screen, but posters would work too. (The reason I prefer digital screens for pharmacies offering digital services like that is that it sets the tone for a hygienic, clean, modern facility.) Footfall, at the time of writing, is still a touchy subject, with lockdown only just now beginning to ease.

However, if you market Instant Dentist digitally, (which you absolutely should) then it’s a lockdown-proof service anyway. People have to leave their homes to go to a dentist. The Instant Dentist service is just a different location to get an available dentist consultation.

The service is a completely free setup. As it’s a remote service that simply connects the patients to dentists, there isn’t any additional work for you or compliance to meet.

And you get a revenue split.

Increase visitors to your pharmacy and increase revenue.

It’s that simple.

 

5. Video Consultations

 

Even coming out of lockdown, video consultations are a super convenient solution (which also broadens your geographical catchment area) and are now culturally normalised.

 

Pharmacy Mentor can integrate Video Consultation software into your Pharmacy Mentor Website

 

Even the elderly market adopted the use of this technology during the pandemic to stay in contact with family. And for the elderly, video consultations solve the problem of mobility. Offering video consultations alongside in-person appointments makes your service accessible to everyone.

The important considerations when offering video consultations are the experience and security.

User Experience

No one wants a laggy video call where you struggle to see and hear someone. A solid pharmacy internet connection is a necessity to offer this service.

Safeguarding & Security with Video Consultations

There are significant differences between video calls with friends versus patients. Be mindful of confidentiality over video calls. Treat them with the same respect you’d give to face-to-face consultations is key.

Here is the NHS guidance for providing safe video consultations in a healthcare environment.

 

Want to talk more about which services to offer in your pharmacy?

 

Get in touch! We can help with everything you need to get started, including attracting more people to your pharmacy by marketing these services expertly.

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Healthtech for Pharmacies

There is a paradigm shift taking place in the healthcare industry. With mounting financial pressure on the NHS and an innovation boom in the healthtech industry, all eyes are on community pharmacies as the remedy to a system that some claim is failing its patients.

We’re moving closer towards a patient-led healthcare system, allowing patients more control and choice over their health. With wearable tech, trackers and measuring devices on phones, as well as advancements in AI and data storage, we have more ways than ever to manage chronic illness, health, and wellbeing. Read more

Clinical Pharmacy Apps

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.

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!