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Pharmacy PMR Systems
The Patient Medication Record (PMR) world has long awaited revolution. Is the solution (and the revolution) finally here?

 

PMR Systems – A critical analysis

A PMR system determines the Quality of Life of a pharmacy team.  You don’t want something you use so frequently giving you headaches. But it isn’t just your experience that improves with a good PMR. Your patients’ experience is dependent on a system that enables both communication and efficient service. As we discussed in our guide to choosing an online payment provider, with increasing competition on prescriptions, customer experience is paramount to retaining their business.

The whole EPS system works better for patients, but there is a world of potential for PMR’s to grow into to improve customer experience. With big automated giants like Amazon Pharmacy wading into the prescriptions market, you can be damned sure they’ll have the best system in place for prescriptions. The focus on clinical services is pivotal. Your PMR should both freeing up Pharmacists’ time and making patients’ lives easier.

Industry-Leading Pharmacy PMR Systems in the UK

All the providers we’ll look at in this article are “industry-leading”, using their own words. So, it isn’t really clear who the industry leader is. Or what they even mean when they say that. Is industry leading the best? Or is it the first to be released? Hopefully, our guide will provide direction and a bit of clarity with what you can expect from each provider. We’ll update this guide routinely so it’s always a useful source for you when you need it.

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Does any PMR System fit a modern pharmacy?

The name Patient Medication Record shows the focus of PMR systems. And this way of thinking, along with a lack of cutting-edge competition, held back PMR development (and pharmacies) for some time. You’re undeniably reliant on prescriptions as a baseline to your business and require a system to manage that. But the historic reality of PMR systems was no matter how good they are at managing medication, they’re focused on – and therefore limited to – managing medication. As a business, when your infrastructure is limited, so is the service you’re able to offer. If you want to grow (or you’re forced into it by ever-decreasing prescription margins) into something more than a dispensing pharmacy, you’ll naturally need more from the system you’re using.

There’s an issue with complaining about PMR’s when thinking about the system that a modern pharmacy needs. The intuitive thing to do is to think of what already exists and try to make it better, but that’s like trying to make a plane and starting with a car. You can slap a pair of wings on a car, but it’s going to take you a lot longer to make it fly than it would if you just started from scratch and designed a plane.

via GIPHY

Think about designing a system from scratch to manage your patients now. How would it function? What is it capable of doing? Understanding that the focus of a modern pharmacy is now multi-dimensional, the chances are you wouldn’t even call it a Patient Medication Record System, but a Patient Management System. (Or a Patient Integrated Care System, if only for the abbreviation PICS)

With all that in mind, what’s the best existing PMR system on the market?

Which PMR System does the best job?

Whilst no system is perfect for every pharmacy (one size rarely fits all), which existing provider comes closest to ticking all the boxes you want?

The five PMR systems we’ll review all offer unique elements to improve your working life. However, there are unique aspects to each system making each more appealing to some pharmacy owners than others. We’ll also include the company’s own video (where available) to give them a chance to speak for themselves.

Please note: As of this publication, we are not affiliated with any PMR System provider and this has been written with no bias whatsoever. It is for information purposes and comprises of what we know when doing our research into them on a top-level, some feedback we’ve naturally been given from our clients and the experience our CEO has had in using some of the systems as a pharmacist himself. We are by no means indicating one is better over the other and it’s up to you to decide which will be right for your particular business. Furthermore, these PMR systems are in no order of priority and numbered randomly. 

1. Invatech – Titan PMR

The Titan PMR from Invatech was created in 2016 by their CEO Tariq Muhammed to remedy some of the headaches he’d faced when running his pharmacy group. You can tell its creator has experience running a business, as it addresses a lot of business headaches. It’s a PMR, but crafted with business management in mind.

An immediately striking element of Titan is it’s clearly created to be used by anyone. One of the biggest issues in any business adopting new technology is “buy-in” from the staff, and the training needed to get them using it effectively.

Titan’s system undoubtedly reflects modern software expectations. Anyone familiar with using a smartphone will find the system intuitive.

The Titan system has individual logins that are completely customisable for the users too. This means that your pharmacy technician and Superintendent Pharmacist can work with information and functions that make sense to their job role, whilst working from the same system

The genius behind Titan’s PMR is that it brings in modern business solutions, such as the ability to monitor individual performances such as completion rates and mistakes. This allows for detailed performance analysis and gives good insights into where training is required.  On the topic of training, the system has an inbuilt guide/tour of how to use its functions – so face-to-face training isn’t required. However, it’s important that staff understand the full functionality of what’s available to them. Quickly skipping through the tutorials will lead to inefficiencies down the line.

Integrations

It integrates, unsurprisingly, with Invatech’s Care Home Management system, Atlas PCS. If you already work with Atlas, it makes sense to adopt Titan too in the same way if you have an Apple or Microsoft laptop you’re better off with the same make of phone. The compatibility outweighs so many other pros and cons.

However, Invatech claim Titan PMR should be able to integrate with any healthcare app created using approved structures. This relies on other healthcare apps being built in the right way. So there might not be a raft of apps you can immediately integrate with, but it’s certainly future-proof.

Titan’s USP

Where it gets really exciting with Titan PMR though, is the “building blocks” approach to a tailored system. As much as one size can never fit all, this building blocks feature allows you to create different models of PMR for different models of pharmacy. As such, with a bit of time investment, you can mould your PMR system to your exact business model. Their claim “if you can imagine it, Titan can probably do it.”

A new player in the PMR market, Titan PMR has reimagined what PMRs should be. Whilst it might not be the complete package just yet, that might only be because other healthcare applications need to catch up to the level of integration that Titan can offer.

Titan’s offering is focused on helping Independent Community Pharmacies, mainly as that’s CEO Tariq Muhammed’s vision. “Leaving good pharmacists to do great services,” is the mantra behind his foray into technology in the pharmacy industry. So, provided you’re an Independent Community Pharmacy, Titan could well be the PMR for you.

Cool features
  • Integratable API – Allows for integration with other systems
  • Forward-Thinking/Future-Proof – The reason for Titan’s creation was a frustration with the existing systems. As long as Titan doesn’t become the very thing it set out to beat, it looks like a strong horse to hitch your wagon to. The way it’s designed stands it in good stead for the future.
  • Building Blocks Model allows you to model your system on your pharmacy model, rather than try and fit one to the other.
  • Flexible Support Channels including WhatsApp – Customer service is obviously a huge factor. Whilst we can’t attest to the service provided, the flexibility to speak to people is a good sign.
Considerations
  • Only recently released. With other more established PMR’s, it’s easier to find and read the experiences of people like you with reviews and testimonials online. Whilst there’s no telling if there are user issues, you’d be an early adopter at this stage, and therefore open to potential teething issues and bugs. It’s also unclear what the customer service is like. However, their eMAR product Atlas has positive Trustpilot reviews.

Find out more about the Titan PMR system on their website

 

2. Cegedim Rx

Cegedim Rx is already a big player in the PMR world when it comes to Medication Management. But the big advantage – the name. Pharmacy Manager. Not just the name, obviously. (Though it does sound like a fun computer game.) The benefit is more in how Cegedim Rx views Pharmacy Manager. Which is to say, they also view it as something that should reflect the whole of Pharmacy, including the incorporation of delivering services.

Switching PMR systems can be an administrative pain, so if you’re looking to switch to a new provider, it’s worth thinking about the future as well as the present. What’s the company’s vision for their PMR offering? Does their vision match up to your strategy as a pharmacy?

User Feedback

Cegedim Rx appears keen to listen to feedback from their users, and understand the direction Pharmacy as an industry is headed to develop their product into one that works for its users.

This is taken from the Cegedim Rx website:

We have embedded our commitment into a product experience goal that commits to delivering products and solutions that precisely match our customer’s needs, enhance the UK healthcare systems, and facilitate improvements in patient care and outcomes.

It’s promising to see both pharmacies and patients involved in product development.

Interface

Aesthetically, the Cegedim Rx is great to look at, having undergone a facelift in a recent update.

The dashboard design is useful, with a useful colour-coding alert system to prioritise tasks. It has good links to NHS services, including the prescription tracker and NHS mail within Pharmacy Manager, meaning find out what stage prescriptions are at without having to leave your PMR.

We know that Cegedim have big plans to advance Pharmacy Manager even further so in terms of innovation, they are helping community pharmacy evolve in its operations. This is a strong feature of the PMR and the company as a whole.

Integrations

As mentioned, Pharmacy Manager is integrated with the NHS Prescription Tracker, which makes handling customer calls a breeze, as you’ll always know exactly where a prescription is up to.

If getting and giving great customer service is your main priority, Cegedim might be your best option.

Cool features
  • User Interface – With a focus on making sure you never forget anything ever again by making the important things visible.
  • Reliability – Cegedim Rx support is widely praised for their communications and the system held up even during the Pandemic.
  • Updates – Cegedim Rx are constantly listening to customer feedback and improving the system with updates which improves the issues that people want fixed.
Considerations
  • Consider the functionality of this PMR and compare it to other PMRs. Does it have the required variety of spec to do what you want to do in the pharmacy?

Check out Pharmacy Manager on Cegedim Rx’s website

 

3. Rx Web

Rx Web divides people more than pineapple on pizzas. Whichever way you slice it, (#PizzaPunIntended) Rx Web is a forward-thinking solution. But can they deliver? (end of pizza puns)

Cloud-based

A cloud-based platform enabling access from any PC or terminal instantly is a smart solution for pharmacies with more than one branch, or even just a large pharmacy with lots of terminals.

Cloud-based is so much better for so many reasons – there’s a reason Microsoft & Apple use it.

Imagine your pharmacy was broken into and your IT equipment was stolen. On the cloud, your data is still safe and accessible. Storing your data on your hardware isn’t secure.

Multiple pharmacies under the same umbrella? Working from the cloud makes it as though you’re working as one. Instead of your teams working in isolated branches, the cloud is a tree to connect them all. This means if you have a branch that’s busier than another, the one that isn’t as busy can be taking the prescription workload off the busy branch. Not only that, but the prescriptions will appear to be coming from the pharmacy they were ordered from. From the consumer’s perspective, it’s seamless.

Features

Rx Web gets a lot of praise for its range of features, even from its critics. It even includes some Clinical Service support, though the list of supported services is limited to basic services like MURs, Flu Jabs, and Health Checks.

It also integrates with Care Home systems and its features around Care Homes specifically are quite extensive.

Whilst it’s great that they offer patient communications, and even give you 200 free texts per month, but it feels like 200 free texts won’t get you very far. Meaning there’s almost certainly additional costs in there if you wanted to truly use this system. They also, bafflingly, offer fax functionality with this. I don’t know how many of your customers have a fax machine sat at home. But perhaps you’re a pharmacy set in the ’80s. If you are, look no further. Rx Web has fax support.

Price

Trying to get exact prices from PMR companies is a tricky task, especially as they often range based on individual needs. However, Rx Web has a reputation as the cheapest on the market, so if reducing your outgoings is your main priority, Rx Web might be your first port of call. We believe they only charge per pharmacy, so even if you have 10 terminals in your pharmacy, you pay once.

Reliability

Where Rx Web seems to fall down is on its system’s integrity. Whilst some users report no issues, there are a lot of negative comments around Rx Web’s ability to run properly at busy times, suggesting their server isn’t big enough to cope. The technical support also receives mixed reviews. Their contract claims to be simple, but there are reviews that claim there is also no cooling off period. So simple it might be, but make sure you check what you’re signing up to. All things considered, it looks like a bit of a lottery when you sign up with Rx Web. You might be a big winner, but you might be a big loser.

Depends if you like pineapple on your pizza, I guess.

Cool features
  • Low Fees – Users often remark on Rx Web being the cheapest on the market
  • Features – Especially considering the price point, Rx Web provides a lot of bang for your buck.
Considerations
  • Server unreliability is concerning – though apparently, the servers are better now than they were.
  • Ranging reviews on Customer Service implies it depends who you get through to on the day.

Check out Rx Web’s website for more details on its features

 

ProScript Connect

ProScript’s reputation is that they’re the best PMR system, but also the most expensive. Logically, that makes sense. If something frees up more of your time, it’s more valuable. But how exactly does ProScript Connect do this? And does it stand up to the new kid on the block?

This video isn’t a promotional video, and it’s four years old. But it’s the only thing available and might give you some idea of what to expect with ProScript Connect.

Works even when your broadband goes down

With even the best internet prone to disconnect for no discernable reason, the idea that your PMR system (and effectively with it,  your ability to do prescriptions) is tied to such whims is less than ideal, to say the least. ProScript’s “Constant Connect” automatically connects you to your NHS network via a 3G/4G connection in the event of a broadband failure. Pretty useful, if things like working are important in your pharmacy.

Clinical Services Provisions

Helpfully, there aren’t specifications for exactly which PGDs are covered, but that suggests you could feasibly assume that all PGD’s are included. The fact that there’s a Service Hub included does make ProScript Connect a really useful engine if you’re big on clinical services.

Wide Range of Features

Many of the benefits of ProScript come through the many modules they’ve developed as a part of the software, as above. Without going through them all one by one, it’s safe to say that each one is useful and thought through.

Communications wise it’s the same as many other providers, where you are able to send email or text notifications to patients…but again, what we’d really love is the option to text message back. Whilst it’s not imperative for prescriptions, communicating whether a patient needs to cancel or rearrange an appointment is valuable automation that just isn’t catered for at present.

Multi-tasking

It seems simple, but the ability to open tabs and work with different windows is useful. It makes so much sense in fact, that it makes any system where you can’t do that, look a bit silly.

Interoperability

Does ProScript Connect play well with others? Integrations are a big feature of what ProScript is aiming to do, with a big focus on linking with NHS systems like GP Connect & SystmOne. It uses SNOMED CT, which is required now by all NHS systems and enables information to be shared accurately without duplicitous re-entry by hand.

They also have an open API, so any third-party apps can build their apps to work with ProScript. (whether or not they do that will be down to the third-parties). But it’s certainly a plus point from ProScript. Integrations are so important for saving time on tedious admin tasks.

Cool features
  • Integrations – With a focus on working well with NHS systems, there’s no doubt that ProScript plays well with other applications you might have or want.
  • 3G/4G connection to cover internet failure is a big win.
  • Tabs! I get they aren’t the tidiest, but tabs are so useful to work with.
Considerations
  • Cost – ProScript is high-end, which means paying high-end prices. But you get what you pay for in life.

See more details of Proscript Connect’s modules on the EMIS website

 

Positive Solutions

Positive Solutions isn’t just a PMR provider. Although their PMR system is a solid standalone offering, what probably makes them the right option for you is if you’re interested in their Integrated Pharmacy Solution. It’s a fairly comprehensive solution including an ePoS system that completely integrates with your PMR. They offer other products like Analyst Head Office, which gives analysis on things like retail sales, profits, dispensing volumes across pharmacies, etc. Or Analyst Handout, demonstrated in the video below, which takes the power of your PMR into mobile terminals.

 

 

 

Switching PMR systems can be an administrative pain, so if you’re looking to switch to a new provider, it’s worth thinking about the future as well as the present. What’s the company’s vision for their PMR offering? Does their vision match up to your strategy as a pharmacy?

No Dispensing Downtime

Just like ProScript, Positive Solutions understand the frustrations with system downtime on a PMR, and provide 3G coverage if and when your broadband fails.

Incorporates Delivery Mates into your PMR

Your driver simply scans all the prescription bag label barcodes with the eDelivery app and the app does everything else.

Maps the best route with all traffic information for the driver and this includes keeping your patient informed of estimated delivery times. A dashboard in the pharmacy gives you all the information you need. It’s especially useful managing volunteers, proving you have a robust system to protect against fraud.

Extensive training

Most PMR suppliers tend to opt for either face-to-face training or online training. Positive Solutions have both. Face-to-face training upon installation, and an eLearning platform for training whenever it’s needed.

Integrates with your Robots

If you’ve got a robot or an automated collection point, Analyst PMR can be synced up with them so there’s no gap in your workflow.

Cool features
  • Services Functionality – With a focus on making sure you never forget anything ever again by making the important things visible.
  • Good All-Rounder – Positive Solutions provides almost all the benefits and features other providers offer. Sometimes not as good, but at least the functionality is there.
  • Reliable Customer Service – With instant responses during working hours, so if something goes wrong it can get looked at straightaway.
  • Reports – Included in the price, unlike with some PMRs.
Considerations
  • Some of the extra products in their ecosystem appear to come as standard in other PMR packages.

Check out Analyst PMR on Positive Solutions’ website

So which is the best PMR for your pharmacy?

That’s the golden question. Which one is right for your pharmacy business? 

It depends on how your business operates but we think the following are major reasons to influence your decision:

  • Customer service – Stuff goes wrong. It’s inevitable. The PMR record will not load or the system my go down. And making sure that the PMR company are responsive and accessible is key. If providers have limited access or don’t get back to you, simply avoid them.
  • User reviews – Does the company have social proofing? What do your colleagues say about them? Word of mouth goes a long way but if they are actively generating reviews online, this is a very good indication to go with them.
  • Integration – Does the software integrate with other third-party providers? Or is the software totally inflexible? If providers aren’t collaborating with other companies or their software/hardware does not integrate with other solutions, you’re limiting yourself.
  • Innovation – If when having a demo of the PMR provider, the user interface still looks like that from Windows 95,  it may be a sign that the company lacks forward vision. Is the PMR provider using cloud-based or hybrid solutions, modern interfaces and state of the art software and hardware? If yes, then this is a green light.
  • Time-saving – The ultimate limiting factor for a pharmacist today is time. Will the provider will save you time in your operations and streamline workflow? This is an extremely important factor. More time = less admin = more room to develop and grow your business.

Have you been using a particular PMR system for your pharmacy? Finding a solution useful or poor? We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re looking for help in selecting the PMR for your pharmacy, please get in touch with us. Our Director, Saam, is a pharmacist of 15+ years, accompanied by the fact that we speak to literally 100’s of pharmacists every week using a variety of different PMR solutions, we’re in the know.


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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

Reportsmart - Pharmacy Incident Reporting Made Easy

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

What are we going to learn?

(Reflection)

 

In this sponsored CPD module,  we’re going to learn about a tool called Pharmsmart, but more specifically, the Reportsmart feature integrated within the Pharmsmart suite of tools.

 

In short, Reportsmart is a patient safety reporting tool designed to record and improve the safety and efficiency of dispensing.

 

How and why is this learning relevant?

(Reflection)

 

Dispensing incidents are a threat to patient safety and must be controlled, audited properly and analysed. Traditional methods of reporting and dealing with dispensing errors via paper trail are inefficient and often get neglected. This means that there is no real improvement in the dispensing process and as a result, patient safety remains at a similar risk level.

 

Reportsmart aims to improve that and deliver even more value.

 

What is Reportsmart?

(Planning and Action)

 

Reportsmart

 

Reportsmart is a new digital application that makes the entire process of dealing with incident reporting very efficient and effective. Alongside this, its many innovative features address the root causes of dispensing errors so that dispensing becomes safer.

 

How does it work?

(Planning and Action)

 

As I mentioned earlier, Reportsmart is a part of a suite of products under Pharmsmart. So when you log in, Reportsmart can be seen here amongst other tools like CD Smart and POMsmart. Let me go through this part of the dash with you now. 

 

The first things you’ll see are the National Alerts that are generated automatically for you here so you never miss them, and they’re easily actionable. I love the little summary that pops up here too. 

 

Above this, you can see a summary of your entire year of incident reporting which is really cool. This is a dummy account I’m using to show you this software so naturally, there isn’t much data here but you’ll be able to see quite clearly how your pharmacy is performing throughout the months. 

 

And incident reporting of all sorts is very easy. Let me show you how quick it is to report a near-miss error (watch video).

 

Simple right. With a bit of training, anyone in the pharmacy is able to do this. 

 

Over on the tabs on the left-hand side, you can view each individual dispensing or prescribing error in each month, view the conversations you had with people and the best bit for me are the reports you’re able to generate from the data it is collecting.

 

You’re able to generate thorough patient safety reports for each month that passes which will allow you to analyse how your pharmacy is performing on a more detailed basis. I particularly like how the tool shows you how you’ve done in comparison to the previous month and also the near-miss summary, indicating types and times of when these are happening. 

 

As a pharmacist, I would be utilising these reports every single month, using the data to improve workflow and have the necessary conversations with staff. Really cool and innovative stuff.

 

Patient Safety is also part of your Quality Payments. This tool will help you achieve that target.

 

Evaluation

 

Reportsmart

 

The Reportsmart feature of Pharmsmart is a slick, fast and effective method of handling the entire spectrum of incident reporting and is naturally a much better alternative than paper-based, outdated systems. 

 

It’s user-friendly, intuitive and can have a positive outcome on patient safety. Furthermore, it will save you hours of time every month in recording incidents in the dispensing process, can be used by all members of the pharmacy team, and will be easy to implement within your pharmacy model. 

 

To receive the benefits of this tool, you’ll need to navigate to Pharmsmart.co.uk or give the guys a call to get your pharmacy activated. 

 

Once again, thanks for watching/reading on Pharmacy Mentor and we’ll see you again soon.

 

Add to your MyGPhC Records

 

If you’d like to talk to us about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact us and we’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 new and emerging technologies.

 

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

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.

PharmZap - Improving Communication between Patient and Pharmacy

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

What are we going to learn?

(Reflection)

 

In this sponsored CPD module, we’re going to learn about a new tool called PharmZap which is designed to help patients and pharmacies communicate more efficiently.

 

How and why is this learning relevant?

(Reflection)

 

The primary way of communication between a patient and a pharmacy has traditionally been and still is, by phone. However, since the evolution of digital health, there are now much better, more efficient solutions to communication.

 

Why is this learning important?

(Planning and Action)

 

Effective communication between patient and pharmacy beyond its brick walls is of paramount importance today. If the current system you have in place is poor, then it poses risks to all aspects of business.

 

For the patient, poor communication can lead to prescriptions not being ordered on time, inconvenience and overall patient dissatisfaction.

 

We all know, as pharmacists, how incredibly frustrating it is when the phone is ringing off the hook. This is a big time-waster in the pharmacy and when the phone remains unanswered, can leave you and your team with consequences down the line.

 

And for your business or organisation, poor communication will ultimately lead to less satisfied patients and financial loss. Most pharmacies only have one telephone line which means if someone is on the phone or on hold, another patient cannot get through. Furthermore, we are often understaffed and even just getting to the phone can be troublesome.

 

What is PharmZap?

(Planning and Action)

 

PharmZap - The improved patient/pharmacy communication tool

PharmZap – The improved patient/pharmacy communication tool

 

PharmZap is a new application designed to reduce these risks by greatly improving and organising your communication with patients and customers. For pharmacies, it is a web-based tool, and for the patient, it is a smartphone app.

 

Download for Apple

Download for Android

 

How does it work?

(Planning and Action)

 

I like to think of PharmZap as the “Messenger for Community Pharmacies” with a load more cool and exciting features that benefit both patient and pharmacy alike.

 

Now, in order for the tool to work, both pharmacy and patient must be signed up to PharmZap. Once a pharmacy is signed up, they will be given a load of marketing material to promote the App to their patients, and PharmZap will market the app to your patients in the locality from their side too.

 

Let me take you through a typical patient – pharmacy communication journey.

 

PharmZap is "The Instant Messenger for Community Pharmacy"

PharmZap is “The Instant Messenger for Community Pharmacy”

 

Let’s say one of your patients, George Bush has a script for Betnovate RD cream. Instead of calling you, he messages you over PharmZap. As soon as he does, you’ll receive a notification if you’re on Chrome and a ticket appears on the dashboard where you’re able to respond.

 

Now, this is where you and your team need to get into the habit of checking your dash on a regular basis. I’d suggest at least 3 times a day, within the opening hours of your pharmacy, and if you forget to respond, you’ll see the ticket turn red, which will encourage you to.

 

When you click on the tab, you’ll be able to respond to the patient appropriately and deal with the query there and then. Or, if you’re short of time at that point, you can nicely triage the ticket into one of the silo’s you can create. In this example, I’m going to create the silo, “Rx items to order”, and then place the ticket there to attend to at the end of the day.

 

Oh, it looks like I just got a message from Margaret. Let’s see what she wants…to order her Salbutamol inhaler. I’ll respond to her right now and place this ticket in the Repeat Requests Silo for my dispenser to order later.

 

Much less stress than a phone call and much more organised than paper.

 

“PharmZap is an excellent direct marketing tool”

 

But PharmZap is more than just a communication tool. It’s a marketing tool. On your profile, you’re able to provide a summary or full description of your pharmacy for patients to see, as well as the pharmacy services you offer and opening times.

 

Update your "subscribers" with direct messaging feature

Update your “subscribers” with the direct messaging feature

 

And, very importantly, as more and more patients subscribe to your pharmacy, you’ll be able to market your products and services directly to them. This is probably one of the most powerful marketing tools you can have, but precaution is needed as to not spam and annoy patients in the process.

 

And one other feature that is definitely worth mentioning is the ZAP feature. If a patient is in need of a rare medicine, for example, Co-Amoxiclav Suspension for their child, they are able to ZAP several pharmacies at once instead of ringing around. How convenient is that for the patient?

 

Pharmacies are able to respond as soon as they can to the message to let the patient know if they have any or not. Very handy indeed.

 

Evaluation

 

Allowing patient and pharmacies to communicate digitally

Allowing patient and pharmacies to communicate digitally

 

PharmZap provides an excellent alternative route of communication for patients and pharmacy that is helping to reduce phone calls in the pharmacy, reduce stress and improve workflow. Digital communication is far more convenient for both pharmacy and patient and it will eventually surpass telephone calls.

 

But it’s also an additional direct marketing tool which can help improve patient retention and satisfaction, and drive footfall and increase sales.

 

For pharmacies, this product is free to trial for the first 2 months and only £9.95 thereafter. For all those benefits you’ve seen today, I’d say that’s an investment very worthwhile.

 

For more info and to register for free, visit www.pharmzap.com.

 

Add to your MyGPhC Records

 

If you’d like to talk to us about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact us and we’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 new and emerging technologies.

 

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

Community Pharmacy Digital Age
 

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Community Pharmacy Digital Age

How to Engage with your Community in the Digital Age

 

The Digital Age. It’s such a buzzword these days. I harp on about it all the time I suppose. But there is a reason. I’m not preaching for the sake of it. I’m shouting out about it because Community Pharmacy needs to hear it. Again and again, and again. Until it sticks.   

 

October this year was a busy one. I spoke at the Pharmacy Business Conference, the NPA Conference, and The Pharmacy Show about how to Embrace your Community in the Digital Age. Essentially, I spoke about the importance of digital marketing for Community Pharmacy, how pharmacists can use these channels and what kind of result you’re likely to see if executed well enough.

 

Below is the manuscript for this particular talk, spoken at the Business Theatre at the ever eventful Pharmacy Show 2018. Please do get in touch with me if you’re thinking about marketing digitally to your Community.  

Slide 2

The smartphone has completely changed human behavior. It’s changed the way we walk. Pre-mobile, human beings used to walk safely, in a straight line, conscious of the destination ahead of us. Post-mobile, this simple task has become a real safety hazard. In America, it’s estimated that around 6000 accidents happen every single year due to texting and walking. We’re completely oblivious to the world around us.

 

It’s changed the way we wake up in the morning too. How many of you, before you do anything, reach for your mobile and start scrolling in bed? I know a lot of you do because I do it too. In fact, I’ve had to work really hard to change my habits recently because my partner believed I was having an affair…..with LinkedIn.

 

And of course, it’s transformed the way we communicate. Social Media and Apps have made cellular data a thing of the past and are now the primary way we talk to each other. It’s staggering to think how many social channels of communication we use through our mobile every day. Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat – the list goes on.  

Slide 3

Here are just some of the latest statistics around the use of mobile and Social Media in the UK that will help you understand its influence better:  

  • 53 million of us (that’s 80% of the whole population) use the internet through our mobiles and 44 million are active social media. We spend on average around 5 hours a day on the internet and 2 hours a day on Social.

 

  • Smartphones are responsible for 38% of the total web traffic, which is a 10% increase year on year, while on desktop, although the share is larger at 51%, this is actually a reduction of 3% year on year. It won’t be too long before mobile traffic overtakes.

 

  • And 44 million of us use Facebook every month, 86% of which use it through their mobile and around 500,000 new people aged over 55 become active on Facebook, every single year. My mum, who’s aged 68, is an addict. A Facebook addict that is. It’s frightening how quick she responds to a post I put up online.

 

Slide 4

The point I’m making here is that the smartphone and social media are now fully integrated into human nature and affects pretty much every aspect of our lives. It’s altered the way we conduct our business and leisure and has a huge impact on our decision-making process.

 

That’s precisely why businesses incorporate these things into their overall business model. It’s the quickest way to communicate with their customer, let alone the most cost-effective.  

Slide 5

In terms of a Community Pharmacy, communicating with a customer or patient digitally offers plenty of benefits:  

  • It means we can talk to them beyond our four brick walls. We can talk to them actively in real-time and we can talk to them passively, 24-hours of the day, just by having content up online – such as a website.

 

  • We can talk to 10,000 people at the same time who live all around your pharmacy, at the simple click of a button.

 

  • If you’re looking to promote the new pregnancy pillow you just got in stock, you can choose to talk to only 100 of those 10,000 people who are women and who are likely to be pregnant.

 

  • And you can track how well you’re communicating the pregnancy pillow to these people.

 

  • Talking to people digitally can drive them to take action online or walk into your store.

 

  • You’ll save money on paper and traditional marketing methods.

 

  • And finally, it allows you to compete against other organisations offering similar services and who are talking to their customers digitally.

 

Slide 6

Engaging with your customers and patients in this manner is part of the vast sphere of Digital Marketing. This isn’t a new concept. It’s been around since the 1990’s when email first became free for the public to use, Google was born and the world was experiencing the dot-com boom.  

 

However, Community Pharmacy, particularly the Independent Sector has never really grasped Digital Marketing. There remains a big pandemic of a lack of online presence and it’s easy to understand why. For years and years, we simply didn’t need to market ourselves so much. We were doing just fine organically from dispensing items. Good customer service, in-store marketing and a good relationship with the Dr was doing the job, so why change?  

 

However, with the evolution of Digital Health and mobile technology in recent years, our health demands have changed. We want to communicate with a healthcare professional right away. We want our medicine to be delivered to our door and the very next day. And we want to access healthcare services as quickly as possible.  

 

While elements of the previous business model we adopted are undoubtedly important, we must now incorporate digital health into the overall strategy and a significant arm of that involves digital marketing.  

 

Digital marketing must be involved in protecting your business from the emerging competition who are providing similar services more conveniently. It must be involved in generating new streams of income to counteract the significant loss in dispensing fees we suffered not so long ago. It must be involved in effectively engaging with your Community now and in the future.  

 

Let’s take a look at how digital marketing can be applied to your business and what opportunities will exist for you…  

Slide 7

Just before I get into the juicy bits, let me give you a 30-second synopsis of me and what I do. I’m a Community Pharmacist of 12 years and counting, but in 2014, I took a break from practice and dived head first into online and technology sector. I taught myself how to build websites, learned how to create high-quality digital media and have been perfecting digital marketing ever since.  

 

At the beginning of 2017, to help with the pandemic I explained earlier, I launched a digital marketing agency that focuses primarily on the Community Pharmacy sector. Through trial and error, keeping up to date with the latest social and digital trends, and evaluating data and feedback, we know which channels make a real difference to your pharmacy business.  

Slide 8

 

Pharmacy in the Digital Age

Speaking at the Pharmacy Show 2018

 

Now, first and foremost, you need a website. Think of this as the central hub for your digital marketing activity and your digital shop window. This tool is what is going to speak to your customers 24 hours a day and it allows for an abundance of interactivity.  

 

Take a look at this example of a good, very affordable Community Pharmacy website.  

 

  • It’s mobile responsive, which is absolutely mandatory today. A customer will turn away if they have to pinch the screen to zoom in on things. Google also penalises websites that aren’t mobile responsive too.

 

  • It’s very well presented, clean and professional. You know the saying… “ A first impression always counts always counts”. Well, it applies to your website too. A website like this gives the user confidence from the word “go”.

 

  • It allows for the user to nominate the pharmacy for EPS right from the website itself without the need to fill in a paper form.

 

  • Users can also sign up and reorder their prescription on the go, catering to how we behave right now.

 

  • They can also book an appointment for the Travel and Flu clinic without the need to call the pharmacy.

 

  • The integration of these PGDs makes this business an all-round holistic health centre. An Online Doctor functionality allows for many prescription items to be sold digitally.

 

  • And of course, all activity can be tracked on a website because of the data it creates. Google Analytics can help us with this and will tell us what’s working and how customers are behaving.
  •  

But there remains a problem. It’s fantastic that we can provide all these wonderful services, but they render useless if people don’t know they exist.  

 

Q. So, how do we get more people to know about and use these services?

 

Well, we have to shout out about them, consistently. Let me show you how you can do that…  

Slide 9

Creating good quality content in the form of a blog, which is usually incorporated into your website, will help people find your services much more effectively. That’s because it caters for how we are searching for services in the first place.  

 

3.5 billion searches are made on Google every day. When people are looking for a service they want to use today, they don’t type the name of a business into Google, they type exactly what service they want to find. We call these search terms, “keywords”.  

 

This is a blog for a pharmacy down in Luton. We developed a blogging calendar to create articles focusing on the “keywords” that would promote the services they offer in store. One of those services is the morning after pill service. So we created and optimised an article for the keyword “morning after pill Luton” – that’s what people are searching for online in Luton.  

 

After only 3 weeks of publishing, the blog post positioned itself high on the first page of Google. This means that every time someone searches for this specific term, they’re likely to see this article. We just positioned this pharmacy service ahead of Boots, Tesco and Lloyd online.  

 

And the analytics tell us everything. Eight people clicked onto the article last month from the 63 impressions it received. With the correct optimisation, you can position all of your pharmacy services like this. More visibility means more traffic, which increases the likeliness of conversions.  

Slide 10

On the subject of Google, your Google My Business profile is an equally effective, if not more important marketing channel.  

 

When you type the exact name of your business into Google, you’ll see a profile appear, like the one you can see in the corner of the map there. It holds vital information regarding your pharmacy. That’s your Google My Business profile.  

 

Question. How many of you have owned and verified your pharmacy on Google?  

 

For those of you that haven’t, you could be losing business.  

 

You see, Google automatically populates information about your pharmacy on your profile, according to what they know. But, that information can be inaccurate. Wrong opening times and contact information is a very popular one I see. You can only manage that information if you’ve owned and verified it.  

 

If you can understand that your profile is viewed literally 1000’s of times every month, then you’ll know how important this is. You can also add photos of your pharmacy and you can even add secondary categories to your profile too.  

 

For example, this pharmacy down in Birmingham is also a travel clinic. So, in addition to the primary category, which is a pharmacy, we’ve added the secondary category as a “travel clinic”. So, now, when someone types in “travel clinic south birmingham” into Google Maps, this pharmacy will appear as a listing, nicely trumping its competition with all those stars there from customer reviews.    

 

This tool also allows you to publish posts and it’s continuously being updated with a load of cool features. For example, only recently did they add a “services” functionality to the profile, which is perfect for a Community Pharmacy.  

Slide 11

Another channel which I class as “essential” for Community Pharmacy is Facebook. Now, I won’t go into too much detail with this social media channel because it’s functionality and marketing tools are so vast that I’d need another 30-minute slot to fit it in.  

 

Rather, I’m just going to focus on the most important aspect of Facebook for Business today, which is, Facebook Ads. Paid advertising on Facebook is without a doubt the most effective and cost-efficient way to reach your preferred type of customer, and lots of them.  

 

Why?  

 

Because Facebook knows everything about you. Your gender, your age, where you live, where you work, where you have been on holiday and that you prefer to read articles from Pharmacy Mentor rather than the Chemist and Druggist. The amount of data it holds about you is scary.  

 

As an example of how effective Facebook Ads can be, we created an Ad for a pharmacy, again, down in Birmingham, to promote the launch of its travel clinic. We spent £10 and targeted only the people within a 10-mile radius of the pharmacy, between the ages 18 and 65, and who are interested in travel topics. Two days after publishing, the pharmacy sold £400-worth of Travel Health products to a single customer. And we know that this sale was attributed to the Ad because we asked the guy how he knew about the service.  

 

As another example, for a pharmacy down in Colchester, we pushed a £50 Ad to promote the launch of their travel clinic, targeting similar demographics. The Ad reached 19,000 people in the area, and in that first month, the pharmacy completed 11 consultations and totaled £1,200 net profit. Again, we know the Ad influenced people because we asked them how they knew about the service.  

 

Now, Facebook Ads work even better when they are linked to another digital channel where an action can be performed. For example, we can track how many people will fill out your travel consultation form, which will give us even more accurate data.  

 

Facebook is an extremely innovative tool. They’ve recently released a new Ads objective which is designed to increase visits to your store. This means you can create an Ad that will only be pushed out to a person when they reach a certain proximity to your pharmacy. And Facebook will track, through geolocation technology, if that person went into your store because of that Ad. Really clever stuff and that just shows you how advanced advertising is becoming.  

Slide 12

The last Channel I want to dive into at this depth is LinkedIn. Now, a lot of pharmacy owners question this tool, so let me explain how it can benefit you.   Every Social Media channel has its own unique set of demographics and functionality.  

 

For Instagram, the younger female demographic represent most of its user base, and it’s heavily image-based.  

 

For Pinterest, only 7% of users are men, the median age is 40 and again, content is only images and videos.  

 

But for LinkedIn, most users are professionals and it’s excellent for building relationships and growing a network of people that matter to you.   So, who matter to you and your Pharmacy?  

 

  • People in the locality do
  • Businesses in the locality too
  • Care Homes
  • Hospitals
  • GP Surgeries, and whoever else you think a relationship would benefit your business

 

So, connecting with all of these guys on LinkedIn will allow you to begin building better relationships which develop leads.  

 

As a prime example for this time of year, LinkedIn will be great for pushing your flu jab service.  

 

Take a look at this pharmacy. We began pushing out content promoting a Corporate Flu Vaccination Service, where the pharmacist would set up a clinic at their place of work. After only one published post, we received an email inquiry from a company we’re connected with. We’ve now secured a date to vaccinate a potential 80 staff.  

 

LinkedIn also allows you to message people directly which is a brilliant way to develop relationships. Think of this as the new way of direct outreach, taking the place of cold calling and email.  

 

As an example, say you’re looking to attain more Care Homes for your business. Connect with all the Care Home managers in your region (and they are on LinkedIn) and send them a message to say hello. Because they can see who you are from your profile, you’ve already developed an element of trust. That’s the beauty of it. From there, you can begin to offer your services and they’re more likely to do business with you. As you know, business is all about building long-lasting, good relationships and LinkedIn is a great tool for it.  

Slide 13

Now I’ve only mentioned a handful of channels here but there are plenty, plenty more. I just don’t have time to go through them all right now.  

 

However, let me give you a brief insight into some other tools that can be considered:  

 

  • Email marketing is huge and can have a serious impact on a business, but is complex and requires time.

 

  • So, an alternative to this could be using the digital loyalty scheme from Swipii, who market by email for you.

 

  • Pointy is a product that helps increase the visibility of your shop products on Google by creating a listing for each of them online.

 

  • PharmZap is a new app that allows for easy communication between patient and pharmacy.

 

  • WhatsApp Business has been specifically designed for Small Business owners, such as pharmacies. I reckon this could be very powerful for us because everyone use WhatsApp.

 

  • Pharmacy Flu Jabs is an online flu jab directory that helps market your flu jab service.

 

  • Instagram, particularly using Ads, can be a very powerful brand awareness tool.

 

  • And don’t forget your NHS Choices profile too. It’s a marketing channel. Upload images, videos and increase your 5-star reviews to help influence the user to use your services.

 

Slide 14

I sometimes see, on Social Media, funnily enough, other pharmacists criticising digital competitors, which makes me a bit sad. These competitors are simply responding to the problems that people face in the current health system and their demands. The fact is, we want to be treated quicker than ever before and the process to be as simple as possible. Fair play.  

 

But Community Pharmacy, rather than be phased by this, should see them as a catalyst for action. We need to protect and influence the people and businesses around us – not nationally.  

 

Those companies cannot offer the most valuable form of patient care, which is, face-to-face care. They can’t protect them against the flu this winter nor immunise them before they go travelling. Your pharmacy has a great deal to shout out about and by harnessing some of these digital tools, you can provide the best of both worlds to your community.  

Slide 15

I hope that, from what you’ve seen in this presentation today, it’s clear that the smartphone, it’s apps and social media represent a significant opportunity for Community Pharmacy. They are part of Digital Health which is right now and the future. For the effective sustainability and growth of your business, they should absolutely be considered as part of your overall strategy.  

 

Some of you will probably be thinking “Well, how on earth am I going to implement all of that? I don’t have the time nor the skill to execute.”   You’re right. Time is a huge limiting factor. But digital marketing is a journey, not a sprint. It can be implemented gradually and adjusted accordingly so you’re only focussing on the things that work.  

 

If you can do some of it, or a competent member of staff could take some tasks on, then that’s great. And of course, you have external help too. You know more than me that it’s all about utilising every possible resource you have available.  

 

I must also emphasise on the word “strategy”. For pretty much any business activity, following a strategy always churns out better results. The same goes for digital marketing – plan it into the business model and then execute it.  

 

And take note that the digital world is constantly evolving. So you must assess how well your strategy is working on a regular basis. The same strategy you were employing 6-months back will probably not work as well as it does today.  

 

Think mobile. Think social. And drive your pharmacy into the digital future.  

 


 

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!

 

 

The Evolution of Digital Health

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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!

 

 

 

Helping one of their branches promote themselves and their Christmas stock across Facebook

“Pharmacy Mentor have transformed our digital capacity with a brand new website, a Facebook page and regular postings, online videos and a growing digital community of patients and customers. And this is just the start! “
Andrew – Director and Superintendent Pharmacist

About

Green Cross Chemists Ltd are the largest chain of Independent Pharmacies in Sheffield and have been providing healthcare in the city since 1992.

Challenges

Although the company director understood the importance of being online, he didn’t know where to start and was unable to find the time to dedicate to it. This led to long delays in getting a website created, let alone introduce Social Media into the company strategy.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor creates and executes a bespoke digital marketing strategy that includes:

  • Creating a custom-built, modern website designed for the experience we expect from users today
  • A tailor-made Social Media Marketing pack covering Facebook and Instagram
  • Blogging for target keywords around their pharmacy services

Results

The company is now proudly and prominently positioned online. Their professional website mirrors their company on the ground and is receiving queries via email to help reduce the number of calls in the pharmacy.

Pharmacy Mentor is driving a strategy on Facebook (organic and paid) and Instagram. This is helping grow and engage with a loyal audience in their catchment areas and build brand awareness. This is now an integral part of their overall business strategy.

By creating highly-targeted blog posts, we’re positioning their pharmacy services on page one of Google for the keywords people are searching for. As a result, website traffic has increased and their services are now competing better with those offered by the large chains.


If you’re looking for help in marketing your services better and building on online presence, then please get in touch with us and we’d be glad to help.

The Pharmacy Digital Diagnosis

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

Is your pharmacy catering for the digital behaviour of your customers and patients?

In a world where we’re online more than we actually sleep, where online retail sales are breaking records year on year and where 40 million of us in the UK are now active on Social Media…have you considered what kind of presence your pharmacy has online to cater for this behaviour?

Can people find the services you offer on Google before they leave the house? Are you maximising the use of Facebook to target those people and businesses around you? Is your website fit for purpose for the 21st century?

Having a digital presence is just as important as having a physical presence these days and there are so many tools you can use that will help market your services better, create stronger business and customer relationships, and help drive pharmacy footfall and website traffic.

So, in light of this, I wanna help you understand the current health of your pharmacy online and what kind of opportunities lie ahead of you through what I have coined as the “Pharmacy Digital Diagnosis”. Let me explain what this is in a bit more detail.

What is a Pharmacy Digital Diagnosis?

 

Pharmacy Digital Diagnosis Screen Shot Example

An example shot from the digital diagnosis of a chemist in Nottingham

 

Essentially, a Pharmacy Digital Diagnosis is where I screen your pharmacy business to help you realise:

 

  • What your current online presence is like
  • How well you’re marketing your pharmacy online, and
  • What opportunities exist for your business in terms of digital marketing

 

Through screencasting and voiceover, I will examine each of the digital marketing channels you’re using and the strategies you may be employing, and advise you on:

 

  • What’s good about them
  • What’s not so good about them
  • And what can be done to improve them, which will lead to better results

 

All of this is then packaged into a short and concise video which I will send you via email so you can watch, learn and digest in your own time.

I conduct each and every Diagnosis for free of course and what you do with your video is completely up to you. But, if you want to talk to me about how you can improve your presence online, market your pharmacy services better or would like me to implement and manage a more powerful digital marketing strategy for you, then I’m all ears! Get in touch with me by phone, Whatsapp, Email, Skype, FaceTime, LinkedIn, Facebook (you get my drift), and I’ll get back to you right away 🙂

Looking forward to helping you get digital.

All the best,

Saam

Click here to request a FREE digital diagnosis of your business now