We spend our lives online. From our day job, where we spend time answering emails and doing research, to our social lives, where we send messages to friends and scroll through Instagram. We’re always connected.
In fact, in the UK they have spent around four hours per day on our smartphones in 2021. This reflects just how often we look at our apps. These stats are just for our phones. They don’t look at other ways we access the internet.
With this digital revolution being such a big part of our lives, it makes sense for the health sector to also capitalise on our connectivity. As such, we’re seeing more and more digital pharmacies. But what do these online chemists offer? And what do we need to consider?
The impact of digital pharmacies
There are plenty of positives to come out of the move towards digital pharmacies. Advancements in tech have made processes smoother.
For instance, digitised health records make it easier to match the patient to the medication they need. Robotic and barcode drug dispensing make getting treatment to people easier. It’s now possible to have video consultations, which saves patients from having to visit their nearest chemist.
Additionally, it’s possible for patients to manage their repeat prescriptions. Thanks to services like click and collect, they can order what their doctor prescribed for them online and pick it up when it’s ready. This does away with standing in a busy chemist waiting to see if medication is ready for collection.
The use of big data
As well as helping patients, the use of big data to build digital pharmacies is helping to make improvements across the field. For instance, data can be collected and forecast which medication will be needed. This tech also lets pharmacists know when supplies are running out.
With new tech comes risks. As with anything that uses data, there’s a risk of information being hacked by cybercriminals, so protective measures are needed to secure patient information. Here, it’s imperative that authentication and other safety measures are in place to protect data and keep in line with GDPR rules.
Also, without human judgment in place, automated systems can make mistakes, meaning patients might not receive the right medication or their order may be missed.
For pharmacists moving into digital services, it might be worth investigating the details of their pharmacy insurance policy to see what remains relevant.
While there are risks to consider, we must accept the changes that are taking place. Everything is digital and there are plenty of pros to taking up digitised pharmaceutical care.
Have you moved your pharmacy operations online, or do you use digital chemists? Share your experiences in the comments section!