The pharmaceutical industry is accountable for drug research, development, manufacturing, and distribution. Over the last two decades, the industry has grown significantly, and pharma revenues globally totaled 1.27 trillion dollars in 2020.
In addition to patient-related technologies like apps and activity monitors, technology in pharmacy has been making significant strides to improve the whole industry. The first significant technology breakthroughs were centered on keeping track of medications, reducing automating prescription refills, paperwork, and creating a new kind of record keeping.
Pharmacies may now use technology to build customized systems that completely automate a patient’s prescription refill record as well as check into other prescriptions purchased at other pharmacies, allowing pharmacists to effectively monitor and manage the patient’s overall health & wellbeing.
Technology hasn’t slowed down since then. Here are the following technologies that are boosting pharmacy industry:
1. Automated Dispensing Units/Cabinets
A computerized medication storage device or cabinet intended for healthcare institutions is termed as an automated dispensing cabinet (ADC). It enables medicines to be kept and delivered near the point of care whilst also maintaining control and monitoring of drug distribution. This increases fill time, reduces human error, and enables personnel to concentrate on patient contact instead of prescription filling.
Telepharmacy is defined as a method of providing pharmaceutical goods and treatment to various patients through telecommunication. Patients will be able to get their medications and other pharmaceutical care products in the comfort of their own homes. Patient counselling, drug treatment monitoring, and refill approval for prescription medicines are some of the services provided, as are monitoring or formulary compliance through teleconferencing, and prior permission of prescribed drugs.
Pharmacists are increasingly going for HIPAA-compliant software development to offer remote prescription authentication and live-video counselling to patients, all the while maintaining the same degree of pharmacist engagement and contact as in a conventional pharmacy.
3. Automated Patient Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Outreach
Due to the longer time it takes to complete and deliver prescriptions, online pharmacies are using CRM software to handle client contacts through social media, SMS, and email. This technology keeps patients involved with their health and their pharmacy, improving compliance, with anything from medication refill reminders to quarterly wellness newsletters customized to specific audiences. It also provides ready-to-use discussion points for the patient’s contact with their doctor, as well as increasing the patient’s trust in their preferred pharmacy.
4. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP)
A prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) is a digital database that keeps track of restricted narcotic prescriptions. PDMPs may provide health officials immediate details on prescribing and patient activities that contribute to the pandemic, allowing them to respond quickly and effectively.
PDMPs remain one of the most promising state-level initiatives for improving opioid prescription, educating clinicians, and protecting vulnerable patients. Although the results are varied, PDMP studies have shown improvements in prescription practices, patient usage of multiple providers, and reduced drug addiction treatment admissions. States have adopted a variety of measures to make PDMPs more accessible and usable, and these improvements have the potential to ensure that PDMPs’ usefulness and promise are fulfilled.
Promising Characteristics of PDMPs
- Universal Use
- Actively Managed
- Easy to Use and Access
5. Multichannel Data Repository
Pharmacists at these online pharmacies may not have the same level of face-to-face contact with patients as those in conventional pharmacies. To compensate, cutting-edge product information management systems (PIMs) are merging with digital pharmacy records and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to provide a multichannel data repository for managing and verifying patients’ prescription fills.
This provides them a complete view of the patient’s medical history, how it connects to their new prescription requirements, and how inventory can meet those requirements in real time, giving them a one-stop store for the data doctors need to guarantee safety of patients. On the back end, it enables the application of complex analytics to assist with inventory tracking and anticipatory stock ordering. Patients and staff alike benefit from greater knowledge and participation in treatment as various information channels flow into and are fed by one another.
6. Medication Therapy Management (MTM)
A pharmacist’s evaluation is given to the patient through MTM, an online platform for managing a patient’s prescription. To detect and manage pharmaceutical issues, the pharmacist will examine all medicines given to the patient by all practitioners providing care, as well as any over-the-counter and herbal items. Treatment errors, duplication of medicines, unneeded medications, and the requirement for medicines for an untreated or poorly managed illness are all possible issues.
To ensure appropriate drug usage, the pharmacist may offer medication-related education, guidance and consultation to the patient or their caregiver.
7. Full Assimilation into the Internet of Things
Online pharmacies are moving to the internet of things to offer responsive connection and optimization for smart systems such as inventory management, the PIM, and automated filling machines. This comprises not just the pharmacy’s machines and computers, but also the people who work there
Data is continuously collected from portable devices that provide measurements to help determine how the human workforce collaborates with its technological equivalents to better meet the requirements of patients. This is true on the manufacturing floor, where medical prescriptions are filled, as well as in support areas like cleaning, receiving, and shipping departments. The end result is a cohesive whole focused on the patient and built on many people’s efforts.
8. Medication Reminder Devices
Patients may get smart medicine reminders from a variety of gadgets in the market. Reminder gadgets that seal the drugs after taking the right dosage, alerts and flashing lights whenever the patient needs a dose, and a patient compliance platform that may display your next programmed dose.
Since mobile phones are convenient for patients to bring even in the case of emergency, a system using cell phones to facilitate meds taking will become highly essential as an aspect of the smart healthcare system as information and communication technology (ICT) grows. A smartphone app that reminds the user to take their medicine is a modern kind of pill reminder. These applications may also keep track of missing dosages. Reminder-based treatments using sms alerts from smart phones have been found to increase medication adherence.
9. The Mass Adoption of Filling Automation
Automated filling methods are really not new, and yet many online pharmacies are stretching the technology to its limits in the pursuit of maximum efficiency. They can keep costs down while filling prescriptions quicker by managing labor expenses via increasing automation. Automated filling systems not only save time and money, but they also help with inventory management. Now with the ability to send data back to the PIM, out-of-stocks are reduced, and human pharmacy personnel are notified whenever a hopper refill is needed.
Pharmaceutical technological advancements benefit both the pharmacy team and the patient, resulting in a better holistic experience and improved synergy across each stage of the prescription procedure. As our world progresses, more attempts will be made to enhance patient health & wellbeing while also making the practitioner process rather more automated and streamlined.
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