Community pharmacists gathered for the Pharmacy Business Conference to listen to how their career can sustain with the technological developments driving the NHS ahead. Neil Trainis reviews…
What would Matt Hancock have manufactured from all of it? The aficionado of all issues tech might have afforded himself a smile had he been on the Park Plaza Lodge in Westminster to listen to how some inspiring community pharmacists have improved the care they supply their communities via using digital innovation.
The Pharmacy Business convention, ‘Embracing Digital Healthcare,’ demonstrated how pharmacies use know-how to roll out well being providers with effectivity, high quality and velocity. All to the good thing about native communities who depend on their native pharmacy groups to maintain them wholesome.
The message was easy. The NHS is quickly going digital. Community pharmacy dare not get left behind. Community pharmacists, healthcare leaders and pharmaceutical executives gathered to get a glimpse right into a tantalising future.
Bernadette Brown, an award-profitable pharmacist who runs Cadham Pharmacy in Fife, revealed she has three dishing out robots and plans to have a fourth by Christmas. One thing made potential with monetary help from the Scottish authorities within the type of grants. Not a lot probability of that taking place south of the border.
She has additionally invested in diagnostic gear to enhance her affected person providers and put in a 24-hour automated prescription assortment machine. She is just not a lot blasé about her progress with know-how, extra extraordinarily snug with technological innovation.
“There is lots of different technology out there…cost doesn’t come into it…we need to free ourselves up for face-to-face patient care,” she stated.
Conference chair Michael Holden tried to unravel the well being ecosystem and insisted the times of pharmacists “chasing green forms” was over earlier than asking “where’s the pharmacy profit going to come from?” That was a not-so-delicate reference to community pharmacy needing to focus extra on face-to-face affected person providers and fewer on allotting revenue.
That, he intimated, would assist pharmacies, already rocked by authorities funding cuts, thrive and might be achieved by way of using digital know-how such because the digital prescription service (EPS) and robotic dishing out to unlock pharmacists’ time to spend with sufferers.
Nevertheless, insisting “social media is important,” he candidly remarked that when it got here to selling themselves and their providers, he stated pharmacists have been “rubbish.”
The convention would go on to listen to how pharmacists can spotlight their providers on platforms resembling Twitter and Fb and use Linkedin to generate contacts of their native space corresponding to GPs, different well being professionals and members of well being buildings corresponding to medical commissioning teams, well being and wellbeing boards and sustainability and transformation partnerships.
Michael additionally stated pharmacists wanted to concentrate on how individuals are taking extra management of their very own healthcare by means of using wearable applied sciences. Self-care is all the fashion today in any case.
One other award-profitable pharmacist, Ryszard Cygan, stated: “To ignore technology and IT would be foolish. It gives us confidence to roll out more services and become more efficient.”
Ryszard, who runs West Elloe Pharmacy in Lincolnshire, invested within the UK’s first ATM-type 24-hour prescription assortment level and revealed it allowed him to take 2,000 new prescriptions into the pharmacy.
“Collection points are so easy for patients – touch the screen, enter the pin number, pay and collect the prescription,” he stated.
Saam Ali, the founding father of Pharmacy Mentor, a web-based platform that tries to get pharmacies tech-savvy, stated pharmacies wanted to be higher at digital advertising.
“It is not new. It’s been around for years but independent pharmacy has never really grabbed digital marketing,” he stated. “Digital marketing can generate new income streams from lost dispensing income. You need a website – it’s your digital shop window. It talks to your patients 24 hours.”
Saam additionally urged pharmacists to “create good quality content in form of a blog to allow you to showcase pharmacy services.”
Carol Alexandre, vice-president, info choices, at IQVIA UK, stated the variety of digital well being apps “has increased five-fold” whereas Steven Dodsworth, CEO, D Well being Europe, stated entry to affected person providers and self-care might be achieved in numerous methods, comparable to by way of a pharmacy’s premises, web site together with on-line providers, schooling and help, third-celebration digital signposting and apps.
Chris Ellett, transformation director at Properly, went towards the grain. “What is digital?” he contemplated. “It’s not about constructing an internet site. It’s not about (including) an app. Please earlier than you consider what you’re going to do in your digital area, don’t go and spend some cash on some know-how. And it’s definitely not about AI-powered wearables.
“Don’t build a digital strategy. Build a strategy but don’t build a digital strategy. We’re not here to make things digital. We’re here to make things better.”
He revealed 40% of prescriptions have been nonetheless not being delivered by way of EPS regardless of the system being launched 10 years in the past. It was “criminal,” he bluntly insisted, that Nicely was spending “a seven-digit figure ferrying bits of paper backwards and forwards to GP surgeries.”
But regardless of the convention’s heavy accent on know-how, Chris insisted there was a “massive future for bricks and mortar pharmacies.”
“Apps can’t do flu jabs and Doris still wants to come in for a chat,” he stated.
Regardless of the attract of digital know-how, no one might argue with that.
Why hassle with know-how? It frees you up for face-to-face affected person care
I went to a speak about 10 years in the past in Scotland they usually have been speaking about robots and I assumed ‘oh my days, robots in a pharmacy, are you kidding me?’
I’ve received three now and I feel I’ll have my fourth one by Christmas. Why put the expense on the market for know-how? Solely to get time. That was my key driver. My pharmacist and me, we deserve time.
(It’s about) time to see individuals. Time to have face-to-face consultations. Costing got here into it however you’ve received to do your evaluation and ensure it’s going to work in the long run. I actually wanted that point or my mannequin would by no means have labored.
Diagnostic gear, the workstations, the rules, the consolation, how clear the place is are essential elements to me. I’ve invested a good bit in diagnostic gear to assist individuals achieve confidence to know the numbers, (for instance) if somebody is diabetic.
I’ve the HbA1c Cobas Roche 101 machine (which exams for danger identification, analysis and monitoring of individuals with diabetes). My affected person couldn’t get it achieved on the docs and needed immediate outcomes.
When he received his end result again, he bought the Freestyle Libre (which measures and shops glucose readings) from me and inside two months he was metformin-free. He’s loving that he understands extra meals that impression on his day by day life.
The workstations are there for issues like bronchial asthma, COPD, smoking cessation. I’ve the FeNo (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) machine to deal with bronchial asthma however we need to get that as a funded mannequin and we’ve put in an enormous proposal and hope to get funding within the new yr.
I’ve a BD Rowa machine which the Scottish authorities gave me funding for. It’s only a massive, large robotic that shops stuff. On-line bookings – we’ve got discovered this instrumental (to our success.)
It’s essential we get know-how proper when it comes to ease of repeat prescriptions. I would like automation to help me so we will get individuals choosing up their medicines. You possibly can order on-line, perhaps with an app, it will get distributed in your pharmacy and also you ship them a code for the (Pharmaself24) 24-hour (allotting) machine.
The arrogance to let go of that ultimate verify within the first occasion was what I discovered actually onerous. How did I get spherical that? Automation provides me that feeling of security.
I’ve the PharmaSelf 24-hour assortment level. Do you compete with Pharmacy2U by getting extra supply vans and drivers? No, get one in every of these devices. Until your sufferers are disabled and infirm, hold your drivers for that.
We get (sufferers’) cell phone numbers and put them into our system. I’ve 280 individuals who picked up (their prescriptions) from my 24-hour machine within the area of six months. And it’s going up each week. Over Christmas and New Yr’s when everybody panics, it’s nice they’ve obtained that ease of comfort.
Bernadette Brown, proprietor, Cadham Pharmacy Well being Centre.
• Don’t be afraid to spend money on know-how – take a look at the larger image (ie, frees up your time for extra face-to-face care).
• Keep in mind to do your value evaluation earlier than investing in know-how.
• Spend money on diagnostic gear.
• Strategy stakeholders (sure, even the federal government) for funding in technological providers.
• Give your sufferers comfort – set up a 24-hour prescription assortment level.
A prescription 24-hour assortment level – that was my eureka second
Statistics present that any pharmacy investing in automation will usually develop 10-15% inside the first yr. Knowledge exhibits that know-how is completely essential if we’re going to maneuver ahead.
I purchased my first robotic in 2004. Three years later I used to be the primary pharmacy to have two robots inside one pharmacy doing the identical work. The city had expanded and I had seen lots of progress and I needed to take care of the effectivity and security of the automation.
For me, at this level, it was injury limitation – how can I exploit know-how to minimise the injury that 100-hour pharmacies might do? About the identical time I used to be approached to assist develop the UK’s first automated 24-hour prescription assortment level and the penny dropped. That was the eureka second.
It was my alternative to get my head across the know-how and develop into a 24/7 pharmacy. It was being utilized in quite a lot of nations, notably Holland. By 2011 I used to be good to go. A month earlier than the 100-hour pharmacy opened, I put in my first PharmaSelf 24.
I spent an enormous period of time getting the advertising proper. I spent about £10,000 on advertising. A month after the 100-hour pharmacy opened, fairly than my prescriptions taking place, I used to be virtually 2,000 gadgets up. About two months after that, a 100-hour pharmacy closed down. And that was job carried out.
We at present have about 1,800 collections every month from our two assortment factors. We’re trying to getting that to about two and a half thousand by the brand new yr. We’ve simply put in our second assortment level. Think about – if I had 1,800 additional individuals stroll into my pharmacy every month, the place would I retailer these prescriptions? The place would I get the employees from?
Know-how just isn’t all about automation and robotics. Crucial software a pharmacist has of their pharmacy is their PMR system. It’s one of the best piece of know-how you’ll be able to spend money on. But I nonetheless pharmacists shopping for probably the most value-efficient, the most cost effective, as a result of it’s a price-saving train. However it ought to be seen as an funding for progress, for doing providers.
Within the high quality funds scheme, one of many gateway standards is the PMR system is operating the newest model of software program however I’ve simply discovered that, probably, there’s one provider on the market who has did not grade for almost all of their clients the newest model. And unwittingly these pharmacists have declared they’re operating the newest model.
You need to ensure that crucial piece of know-how you’re utilizing is as much as the job.
Ryszard Cygan, director & superintendent pharmacist, West Elloe Pharmacy.
• Don’t give attention to making a living out of generics – assume in another way.
• Ignore IT at your peril.
• Measure whether or not the know-how you’ve got used has been profitable.
• Spend money on a very good PMR system, not an affordable one.
• Give attention to efficient advertising/promotion of your know-how.
Digital means we will speak to clients past our 4 brick partitions
When it comes to community pharmacy, speaking together with your buyer or affected person digitally presents loads of advantages. It means we will speak to them actively in actual time or we will speak to them passively 24 hours a day simply by having content material on-line reminiscent of an internet site.
We will speak to 10,000 individuals all on the similar time throughout the pharmacy on the click on of a button. You’ll get monetary savings on paper and conventional advertising strategies and speaking to individuals digitally can let you compete with different organisations providing comparable providers.
Community pharmacy has by no means actually grasped digital advertising. There stays an enormous pandemic of a scarcity of on-line presence however it’s straightforward to know why. For years we merely didn’t have to market ourselves that a lot as a result of we have been doing fantastic organically by dishing out gadgets.
Good customer support, in-retailer advertising and a great relationship with GPs was doing the job, so why change? Nevertheless, with the evolution of digital well being and cellular know-how in recent times, our well being calls for have modified. We need to talk with a healthcare skilled instantly. We would like our medication delivered to our door the very subsequent day.
We should incorporate digital well being into our enterprise mannequin and a big arm of that’s digital advertising. You want an internet site – consider it because the central hub of your digital advertising exercise and digital store window.
It may permit the consumer to appoint the pharmacy for EPS (digital prescription service) from the web site with out the necessity to fill in a paper type. Customers also can enroll and re-order their prescription on the go.
They will ebook an appointment for the journey and flu clinic with out calling the pharmacy and the mixing of those PGDs (affected person group instructions) makes this enterprise an all-spherical holistic healthcare centre.
A web-based physician performance permits many prescription gadgets to be bought digitally. Google Analytics can inform us what’s working and the way that buyer is behaving on-line.
Creating good, high quality content material within the type of a weblog which is often included into the web site will assist individuals discover providers extra successfully. Flawed opening occasions and get in touch with info (on Google) is a very in style one I’ve seen.
You possibly can solely personal and handle that info when you personal and confirm it. You’ll be able to add photographs of your pharmacy and add secondary classes to your profile (eg, main class is ‘pharmacy’, secondary class might be ‘travel clinic’).
You would create an advert (on Fb) that may solely be pushed out to an individual who reaches a sure proximity to your pharmacy and Fb would monitor, by means of geo-location know-how, if that individual went into your pharmacy due to the advert.
Saam Ali, founder, Pharmacy Mentor.
• Speak to your sufferers 24 hours by having a “mobile-responsive” web site.
• Immerse your self in digital advertising.
• Utilise Google Analytics to see how clients are behaving on-line.
• Create good high quality content material within the type of a weblog.
• Use Fb advertisements and LinkedIn for constructing relationships.
We’re not right here to make issues digital. We’re right here to make issues higher
We (at Properly) spend a seven-digit determine ferrying bits of paper backwards and forwards to GP surgical procedures. I’m positive (different pharmacies) do the identical. That’s felony. Within the trendy age the place you have got a bit of know-how that may do this for us, we’re not utilizing it.
That is the quickest rising space… there are over 300 distance-promoting contracts in England. They’re getting nominations by the handful week in week out as a result of clients need a totally different approach of transacting and interesting with their pharmacy.
What’s digital? It’s not about constructing an internet site. It’s not about (including) an app. Please earlier than you consider what you’re going to do in your digital area, don’t go and spend some cash on some know-how. And it’s definitely not about AI-powered wearables.
Don’t construct a digital technique. Construct a technique however don’t construct a digital technique. We’re not right here to make issues digital. We’re right here to make issues higher.
Individuals do need to are available. Doris needs to return in and have a chat. The providers we provide requires face-to-face interplay. All of this stuff are going to be massively necessary for community pharmacy. Doubtless there’s a large future for bricks and mortar.
We now have constructed a web-based pharmacy. We launched it in App Retailer, it’s on Apple on the minute, it’ll be on Android very shortly. We’re the second quickest rising on-line pharmacy in England.
We’ve began to speak and have interaction with our clients differently via textual content messages. In our on-line pharmacy we have now a chat perform the place you’ll be able to have a direct chat together with your pharmacist and chat instantly with GPs too.
Whereas there are many apps on the market and issues in digital well being, there’s undoubtedly not one on the market that may do a flu jab but.
Chris Ellett, transformation director, Nicely
• On-line is nice however don’t lose sight of your face-to-face providers.
• Don’t stick your head and within the sand and assume know-how will go away.
• Give attention to what’s most necessary to your clients and the NHS.
• Get your prescription enterprise proper.
Retail pharmacy can clarify digitally-enabled providers to individuals
Our healthcare techniques grew up in a really totally different age. Our healthcare methods grew up trying to tackle bacterial infections, farming accidents, battlefields. The challenges at the moment are very totally different.
Our techniques have to vary to try this. What we’ll see would be the first supermarkets in digital well being. We’ll see trusted suppliers of digitally-enabled healthcare options for our residents which might be handy, efficient and reasonably priced. And this can be a large alternative for retail pharmacy.
You could have bodily premises and that’s actually essential. It’s distinctive and performs into your benefit. The difficulty with digital well being, whether or not it’s services or products, is that they’re new, they’re totally different, they’re not acquainted to most of the people.
How do you get to know the retailers of the final 5, 10 years? They don’t notably fall into clear classes which is an enormous drawback in retail. What we have to do is clarify the profit, what they’re, what they do.
Out of all of the organisations that would play on this digital healthcare area, we broke this down into 20 sub-segments, however retail pharmacy is nearly distinctive for individuals who come right into a bodily area with a mindset that claims ‘I’m in a healthcare surroundings however truly this can be a retail surroundings. I can get assist right here and you’ve got the time and the setting to elucidate to individuals strolling in what you possibly can present to them with these new digitally-enabled services.’
I don’t see anybody else out there having that means.
Steven Dodsworth, CEO, D Well being Europe.
• Take into consideration what your imaginative and prescient on your pharmacy is.
• Don’t ignore on-line docs.
• Don’t get caught up in know-how.
Ignore digital know-how at your peril, panel warns pharmacy
Panel members from the pharmacy and pharmaceutical industries have been clear that if community pharmacies are to have a future, they need to maintain tempo with digital know-how.
Robbie Turner, director of pharmacy and member expertise on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, stated it was clear well being secretary Matt Hancock was decided to rework the NHS digitally and pharmacy would ignore that at its peril.
This yr Hancock pledged some £412 million to rework know-how in hospitals and permit individuals to obtain care at house and one other £75 million for trusts to ditch paper-based mostly methods and use digital variations which he believes will scale back treatment errors by 50%.
“What we’ve seen from politicians and NHS policy-makers is that there is an expectation that healthcare will become more (digitally) controlled in the future. We’ve seen the work of Matt Hancock and (technology company) Babylon and he is no stranger to the move towards a digital future,” Turner stated.
“I feel we should always see that as a wake-up name. Clients and sufferers are on the centre of what we do however it will be absolute insanity for us to not concentrate on what the NHS, as the one that pays round 95% of your revenue, what they’re considering.
“And what they are thinking will be driven by the attitudes of the secretary of state for health and social care and his views are really clear – digital is here and it will accelerate and unless we get with that, we will miss out. Make sure you are as up-to-date as possible. Saying you do not do technology as a pharmacist any more and ignore the future and you will fail.”
Alliance Healthcare managing director Julian Mount stated: “For me, it’s transfer at tempo. I used to be at a presentation the opposite day the place it confirmed that from the 1850s to 2018 when it comes to the technological developments we’ve seen in our lifetime.
“If we look back, mobile phones, word processors, computers, tablets, videos, it’s moved extremely quickly and that’s only going to accelerate. The time for talking is really done. It’s moving ahead at pace.”
Celesio UK advertising and gross sales director Nigel Swift stated: “That is our Kodak second. That is the time we have to change now. Somebody requested concerning the progress in on-line pharmacy. I can inform you that for the final three months in comparison with the identical three months final yr, on-line pharmacy grew 21% in comparison with a normal contract pharmacy at zero.four%.
“Even if you strip the Pharmacy2U effect out, it still grew at 8.5%. There is a place for bricks and mortar to embrace digital now.”
PSNC chief government Simon Dukes stated: “The question is what should pharmacy want, what should it do? You need to focus on your customer. Many of you have one customer and that is the UK government. What does the government want? It wants to help urgent care, it wants to help the patient and it wants to help with medicines safety. Those three things and technology can help greatly.”
Turner added: “We’ve lobbied onerous to make sure community pharmacies have entry to affected person data. We’ve got a chance by way of entry to these data to enhance medicines security, to enhance outcomes for sufferers, to enhance their entry to providers by flu vaccinations, MURs and new drugs service.
“We frequently use interoperability as limitations and it’s quite simple to explain what the barrier is. With interoperability we don’t speak to practitioners, we don’t speak to GP techniques. Nevertheless it’s essential that once we do have instruments which are getting over limitations, we be certain that we’re utilizing them to the fullest.
“We at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society are working on new guidance around the use of summary care records. I know there are some misconceptions about when that can and can’t be used.”