Technological advances in the field of pharmacy have allowed pharmacies to increase their efficiency and enabled the pharmaceutical industry to implement and increase the pharmacist-managed clinical services.
The pharmacy automation market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8 percent during the five year period of 2020-2025.
Technological advances in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning coupled with the lowering costs of implementing automation is the propelling force behind this growth.
Before taking a deep dive into how to implement new technology into the hospital pharmacy, let us first understand the avenues where technology can be implemented in the field of pharmacy.
Applications of Technology in Hospital Pharmacy
1. Streamlining pharmacy management
Technology can facilitate the electronic prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines, automate the supply chain management of the medications and provide tools for monitoring the efficacy and safety of medicines in use.
Pharmacy management is an integral part of medical practice management in a hospital.
By leveraging the power of electronic health records in the field of pharmacy management, the pharmacists can keep a unified record of a patient’s medication history.
Pharmacy management enables the medical professionals to ensure drug safety, helps the patients to make the most of the medications prescribed, and results in overall better health outcomes as a result of improved care quality.
2. Monitoring drug dispensing and uptake
Automation of drug dispensing allows for effective resource utilization within the hospital.
Usage of medication adherence applications in the form of patient facing mobile apps that send out reminders and push notifications is an important tool for boosting the patient outcomes in pharmacy.
ePrescribing of medications has also added a layer of safety when it comes to improving drug safety and preventing drug abuse.
Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) adds an extra layer of security, helps the pharmacists in monitoring whether the prescribed dosage is being followed and avoids instances of drug abuse.
3. Telepharmacy and drug monitoring
Prescription and dispensing of drugs over virtual consultation as opposed to in-person meetings is a premise of pharmacy that is gaining wide acceptance.
Medication therapy management and patient consultations can be done remotely thus helping minimizing travel costs and bringing down the geographical barriers.
Telepharmacy also plays a pivotal role in bringing drug accessibility to remote areas. Hiring a single pharmacist who can prescribe medications and dispense them remotely can save a lot of money and keep the cost of availing healthcare facilities down.
Telepharmacy programs have already been successful at demonstrating a positive impact in cases of patients suffering from chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension and improving the outcomes in these patients with respect to ordinary clinical practice.
How to Implement New Technology into Hospital Pharmacy
Diving headlong into the technological solutions might seem like a lucrative option, but doing back end research before going all-in will amplify the chances of success.
Here are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself before implementing technology in hospital pharmacy in order to ensure optimum utilization of the same.
Which are the areas in which technology needs to be implemented
Do you need to integrate pharmacy management systems with the EHR or do you need a medication adherence app for the patients? Do you need to add telepharmacy to your list of services?
Technology will always be an addition to the existing resources and not their replacement. Identifying areas which need to be streamlined and where automation can be applied is a crucial step that you should not skip.
Since the scope of the project is defined beforehand and goals are pre-established, the outcomes of including technology in the hospital pharmacy can be easily quantified. It also allows for scalability when incorporating technology within the hospital.
What features do you require the IT systems to have?
When looking for a way to incorporate technology in the hospital pharmacy, it is important to shortlist the must-have features you would need within the IT system.
Software and technology integrations must take place in a graded manner rather than an abrupt shift.
Deciding on which tech features you need to integrate well in advance allows for better implementation of technology as well as greater adoption by the stakeholders and users within the hospital staff.
It has been noted that a number of features and functionalities present in the market ready software are not used by the staff.
Identifying the requirements first and then custom developing the medical software by hiring one of the 100% dedicated, healthcare software development companies such as Arkenea, ensures building of a feature rich product that is fully utilized by the hospital staff.
Interoperability with other existing medical software is yet another aspect that you need to take into consideration before you set off implementing the technology solutions.
The software or platform should not run in silo. Rather, it should work in tandem with other software solutions and provide seamless integration and transfer of data when the need arises.
What should be the budget and timeline for implementation?
The budget and time for technology implementation are both interconnected. Longer development timelines stretch the budget. Conversely, tighter budget results in lesser resource allocation which ultimately results in delayed timelines.
In order to successfully implement technology within the hospital pharmacy, you would need to strike a balance between the two.
Come up with a reasonable timeline for software development and its implementation and allocate the budget for the project.
Who should you hire for your development needs?
Like all healthcare software, development of pharmacy software also requires considerable expertise and experience in the niche.
Healthcare software development deals with collection, storage and transfer of protected health information (PHI) which warrants secure measures in place for its protection.
Medical software is also required to be compliant with legal and regulatory laws like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
Thus, the development company that you choose to partner with should be well versed in the specifications required for compliance while being experienced in developing quality software products with proven track record.
Arkenea has a decade of specialized experience in the field of healthcare software development and a number of success stories in our portfolio. Get in touch with our expert consultants to discuss your development needs today.