They’re omnipresent in today’s smartphone-enabled world, but how useful is the humble app in day-to-day pharmacy life?
It is increasingly hard to live a modern life without regular recourse to a number of mobile apps, whether we’re searching for news, sport, directions, entertainment venues or information on any one of a number of different topics, we use apps regularly every day.
Increasingly too, apps are playing a role in the health and pharmacy sector. In the course of business and/or clinical activities, pharmacists will be ever more reliant on apps to inform their habits.
Writing in AJP earlier this year, David Freemantle, general manager, Government and Enterprise, Fred IT Group, described the provision of apps that improve medications management in clinical practice as “the most significant trend in community pharmacy technology in 2017”.
“It will be the provision of apps that improve medications management in clinical practice in Australia, making it faster and easier, with greater accuracy and coordination of data,” he said. “Medication reconciliation in particular is one of the key services that will be strengthened as a result”.
“Industry has been calling for this ability for decades, and the ramifications will be huge. Pharmacists will have greater access to patient medication information than ever before, and as a result will be in a stronger position when conducting medication reviews and compliance checks”.
Mr Freemantle said there are many scenarios where this will be useful, for example, reducing possible confusion as patients transition between different points of care, or when a GP has de-prescribed one drug, and another practitioner has re-prescribed this without knowing the background.
“The ability to provide practitioners and patients with a complete list of their current medications, and with records of all medication reconciliations completed, will be a significant step forward”.
What works best?
Pharmacist and technology guru Robert Sztar, from Transpharmation, asserts there are three key variants of apps that will be most useful to community pharmacists
- Medication Management (MedAdvisor, myPharmacy Link, DIY – Methsof or Own Developer – Mobile App Templates/Themes): A virtual pharmacist and pharmacy in your patients pocket.
- eCommerce (Banner Provided, Pharmacy.com.au, or Do it yourself options- Shopify, eBay, WooCommerce): Ideally integrated with your Mobile App, provide extended aisle shopping and ordering convenience to your patients.
- Augmented Intelligence (Clinical References, including Web Apps – MIMS, AMH, eTG, MedScope): Give your pharmacists the tools to access the right information, in a timely manner at the point of care.
Some of the key apps for pharmacy
Say hi to Pharmacist Phil
MedAdvisor, and its animated character ‘Pharmacist Phil’ is already one of the most used apps by both pharmacies and patients, aiding safe, effective and on-time medicine use.
MedAdvisor’s home screen provides patients with an automatic list of their prescription medications, updated whenever they fill scripts, with complete details of scripts, repeats left, supply left and medication information.
Other features automatically remind patients when to fill recurring scripts, and chases them up if they forget. Full information on medicines is offered in easy-to-access fold out sections, with quick access info including Common Uses, How-To-Use Tips, Cautions/Warnings, Possible Side Effects and more.
GuildCare’s new GuildCare NG and patient app solution – myPharmacyLink is designed to evolve with pharmacy business, reimagining existing GuildCare functions and adding new features.
Set to be officially launched at APP2017, GuildCare NG is a cloud-based software framework that allows professional service program recording and reporting, and industry data that allows you to track your pharmacy’s internal performance, as well as analyse and compare your business’ performance against rest of the industry.
MyPharmacyLink is a customisable dashboard and loyalty building patient app that can be tailored to your pharmacy’s branding.
Right said Fred
Fred’s new web-based app MedView was launched in 2016. It allows you to view a single consolidated medication list for patients from within your dispensing software.
Because these are web-based apps, you will have the same clinical diagnostic ability in-store and on patient visits, whether these are in the home or in a hospital or aged care setting.
Best med advice
Drugs.com Medication Guide is an app that offers an easy way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records. It is all mobile-optimised and available for Android and iOS devices.
Drugs.com also offers pill identifier and pill reminder apps.
Manage the condition
The Asthma app, released in 2016, is being used by Health professionals and consumers alike –and is designed for use in hospital ward, general practice or pharmacy as an education tool for your asthma patients.
The app has several thousand users who frequently view:
- Information about what is asthma
- Medications – particularly preventer and reliever screens
- Delivery device instructional videos and information on topics such as correct asthma device technique
A herbal treasure
The About Herbs mobile app provides independent, comprehensive, objective information about herbs, botanicals, supplements, complementary therapies, and more.
Using the US Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs database, a tool for the public as well as healthcare professionals, it provides up-to-date information on the value of using common herbs and other dietary supplements.
A pharmacist and botanicals expert manage and continually update the database providing objective and evidence-based information on potential benefits, possible adverse effects and interactions.
And for something a little different – to relax after a stressful day, how about downloading The Headspace app?
This helps you ‘train your mind for a healthier, happier life’, teaching meditation techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety.
It allows you to learn scientifically proven techniques online, when you want, wherever you are, in just 10 minutes a day.