The lives of countless individuals have been significantly impacted by technology over the last 40 years. Markets in every part of the world have actually welcomed computer system technology because of the large set of benefits of automated information processing. These are making it possible for regular, repetitive and monotonous tasks to be performed with complete accuracy, standardization, and mass customization (the capability to offer personalized services to a large population)
From storing structured patient records and electronic prescriptions to dispensing and administering medication in an automated manner, IT is bringing plenty of benefits – especially for pharmacists. Overall, the use of information technology is offering the tools needed to secure drug effectiveness and security. For those reasons, IT can enhance patient safety, making it possible for experts to supply high-quality care and help patients take full advantage of their medications.
Taking Full Advantage of IT Systems
In order to enhance their everyday operations, pharmacists came to understand they had to begin using IT systems. When thinking about the IT requirements of emerging pharmaceutical practices, pharmacists have to begin by reconsidering the functions of the system they are already using – in other words, they have to take full advantage of what they already have.
A perfect example is the way pharmacies use these systems for plenty of tasks, such as dispensing and labeling, ordering new products, patient records, and inventory. But the truth is many pharmacies are not using their current systems at full capacity, for instance, most of them are not using helpful modules such as medication reviews or prescription interventions.
If we are aiming for the complete insertion of IT in the pharmaceutical world, we have to begin utilizing what we already have in hand before making the case for new technology in the market.
The Internet Plays a Crucial Role
The internet has actually been extensively embraced for business and social interactions. We can forecast that in the future, when internet access becomes universal, there will definitely be an increase of online pharmacies using the benefits of the web to display and distribute valuable drug information.
Nowadays, secure web-based platforms are available from different suppliers to support improved pharmacy services and public health efforts. The use of these platforms will most likely be directed into making information available for pharmacists from other healthcare facilities, e.g. patient discharge records.
Electronic Discharges and Prescriptions
Since the use of electronic prescribing (EP) systems for prescription automation and drug administration, there has been a sudden decrease in drug misuse, therefore, a boost to patient safety. Yet the magnitude of this effect depends widely on the system design because poorly designed systems have been actually found to increase the rate of medication errors.
One thing’s for sure, and that pharmacists must remain as a part of the discharge process. Prompt and precise transmission of a patient’s discharge prescription from secondary to primary care is also necessary to ensure patient safety, as well as to avoid mistakes occurring from miscommunications. Just recently, many health centers have actually embraced electronic discharge systems (often as a “quick-win” compared to a whole-hospital EP system). However, these systems might have insufficient choice-assistance functions and information fields that are not in standard formats. Additionally, they send the discharge details to GPs, not to community pharmacists.
There is a wide variety of efforts being established to deal with these concerns, such as toolkits with basic discharge heading and plans created to guarantee that community pharmacists remain in the discharge process.
Pharmaceutical barcode scanning has actually been widely used in the packaging world, where automated workflows and alternative diff checker tools seem to be on the rise. However, barcode recognition of medications at an administrative level is an interruptive process and, because of this, healthcare professionals typically establish “workarounds” to avoid barcode scanning.
Efforts like Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), established in 2017 in the UK, requires medication scanning at the point of dispensing in order to fight counterfeiting tactics.
It’s clear that technology will increasingly become engrained in the pharmaceutical world, but what matters most is not how innovative the technology is, but the way businesses and healthcare centers embrace and take full advantage of these new solutions.