The importance of connectivity

Expert tips on making today’s interconnected world work to enhance your patient service and support

A panel session at the recent Pharmacy Connect conference explored the theme of ‘how to successfully implement new technologies to drive revenue growth and patient loyalty’.

Here are some of the tips and comments from the expert panel of pharmacy leaders and innovators:

Robert Read, CEO, MedAdvisor:

  • On the key message: We all know the importance of keeping up to date with technological developments, but for most of us, the question is that yes, some of these new developments look great, but what is useful in my pharmacy? And how do I get them going effectively in my pharmacy?
  • On technology use among elderly patients: One thing we hear a lot about at MedAdvisor is that our core demographic (the over 65s) do not use technology. But this assertion is challenged by our information and data. A lot of data indicates that the older generation is the fastest growing demographic in terms of technology users.
  • On connectivity: The usages and attributions of technology are growing faster in health than in most other sectors. Connectivity is key when it comes to people’s health futures, and this trend is going to continue to increase. We’re now seeing more than 10,000 script renewals through online dispensary platforms.
  • On patient reminders: One key development that will enhance the role of pharmacy in promoting medication adherence, which let’s face it is and should be a core pharmacy role, is intuitive reminders. These are already being used by many pharmacies and their use will become more pronounced as ever more chronic disease patients use interactive technology. These reminders have been shown to increase medication adherence by around 20 per cent, so their effect can be substantial.
  • On using technology to inform and market to patients: You need to leverage technology to target and promote services to your patients. Don’t just put your key messages on banners outside the store, but send them directly to people. There are a range of tools available to boost your marketing and messaging.

Anthony Tassone, president, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria):

  • On motivating staff to embrace new technology: One problem that you need to overcome before technology is embraced by your pharmacy is the implicit assumption by your team that some at least of your patients won’t themselves embrace these services. If we assume they don’t want the technology, they may assume we don’t want to offer the service.
  • On MedsAssist as an example of technology enhancing pharmacy: One example of the impact of technology on pharmacy is the MedsAssist program to reduce codeine misuse. Without this pharmacy-developed tool, I have no doubt that codeine-containing medicines would have already been upscheduled. There have already been around 40,000 denials of service for codeine, where a pharmacist has clinically decided not to dispense because of the monitoring capacity of MedsAssist. This is a massive boost of the core role of pharmacy as safe medicine dispensers and advisors.

Rob Sztar, Chief Transpharmation Officer, Pharmactive:

  • On patient reminders: The key thing you need to understand is what each patient wants, how it will benefit them and how they want you to communicate with them. You also need to determine which patients are not comfortable with a technology-based solution and would rather have a phone reminder. Basically, find the most effective way to contact each individual patient.

Carolyn Clementson, Professional Services Pharmacist, Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse:

  • On motivating staff to embrace new technology: You need to develop a well thought-out process to get staff motivated. While you may delegate responsibility for the successful implementation of new services and technologies to pharmacy managers, you really need to make this a whole-team approach if it’s to be successful.
  • On patient reminders: You need to determine what works best for the individual patient. Consider the patient at the centre of what you do, and offer reminder services to them based on this consideration.
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