Over the past decade, pharmacies have undergone noticeable changes with the rapid advancement of technology and the evolving healthcare industry. From adopting electronic prescriptions to providing personalized services, pharmacies have made progress in manifolds to meet the needs of their customers.
Embracing Technological Innovations & Digitalization
Like any other industry, the pharmacy industry has experienced various technological innovations. Therefore, you may now find Automated Dispensing Cabinets, Computerized Physician Order Entry, and Barcode Med Administration in this industry.
Automation of Pharmacies
Pharmacies have increasingly adopted advanced technology solutions to streamline their operations and enhance patient care. Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADCs), along with other technological innovations such as Pharma ERP software, have played a pivotal role in the evolution of pharmacies. All such innovations have facilitated accurate medication dispensing, inventory management, order processing, financial management, and regulatory compliance into a single, centralized system while reducing manual errors.
Barcode Medication Administration (BCMA)
BCMA has helped in the supply of the correct medication to any patient at the right time. Pharmacies play a crucial role in supporting BCMA by providing barcoded medications and ensuring proper medication dispensing and labeling, thereby enhancing patient care. BCMA is used for barcoding medicines, and nurses use barcode scanners to verify patient identification and hence match it with the medication before administering it. BCMA has significantly reduced medication errors, improved patient safety, and enhanced the accuracy of medication administration in healthcare settings.
E-Prescribing and Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
E-prescribing and EHRs have become widespread in pharmacies, streamlining the medication dispensing process and improving patient safety. Electronic prescribing allows healthcare providers to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies, eliminating the need for handwritten prescriptions that can be prone to errors. EHRs, on the other hand, have enabled pharmacies to access patients’ medical records electronically, facilitating better medication management and counseling.
Expansion in Services
As pharmacies have experienced innovation in various categories, you can notice a remarkable expansion in the services which this industry provides. The most major advancements are discussed below:
Medication Therapy Management (MTM)
Pharmacies have expanded their services beyond dispensing medications to provide medication therapy management (MTM). MTM involves comprehensive medication reviews, patient education, and medication management services provided by pharmacists to optimize medication use and improve patient outcomes. The integration of MTM services in pharmacies has been a significant step toward promoting patient safety and optimizing medication therapy.
Pharmacies are now crucial in promoting public health and disease prevention through their vaccination services. Most of them even got authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccination programs. All that has increased access to vaccinations, especially in rural or underserved areas, and has helped prevent disease spread.
Screening and Testing
Pharmacies have played a crucial role in promoting preventive healthcare by offering early screening and testing services, supported by technology, as a part of their expanded services to enhance patient care. These services may involve the use of point-of-care testing devices, such as blood glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, and rapid diagnostic tests, which allow pharmacists to screen and identify potential health risks in patients quickly.
Advancements in Patient Care
Patient care is at the forefront of pharmacy practice, and pharmacies have continued to evolve over the years to provide the best possible care to their patients. With the integration of technology and advanced pharmacy practices, pharmacies have implemented various measures to enhance patient care, as explained here:
The rise of telepharmacy has been a significant game-changer in the pharmacy industry, which involves the remote dispensing of medications via technology-enabled communication. Telepharmacy has improved medication adherence, reduced medication errors, and enhanced patient convenience.
The Introduction of CPOE – Computerized Physician Order Entry
CPOE has helped healthcare providers to enter medication orders electronically instead of giving handwritten prescriptions. Pharmacies play a vital role in supporting this innovation by receiving electronic medication orders, verifying medication accuracy, and dispensing medications accordingly. CPOE has helped eliminate errors related to illegible handwriting, incorrect dosages, and drug interactions, thereby improving patient safety and reducing medication errors.
Medication Adherence Programs
Pharmacies have implemented various programs to promote medication adherence, such as reminder systems and refill synchronization. All of that has helped enhance patient care by promoting medication safety, improving medication adherence, and reducing the risk of medication-related problems. The use of technology has made it possible to personalize these adherence programs and offer them through digital platforms, such as mobile applications or text message reminders, improving patient convenience and reducing annual healthcare costs.
In conclusion, the pharmacy industry has greatly evolved during the past decade due to technological advancements and the introduction of newer programs for medication adherence. The enhanced role of pharmacies and pharmacists has helped make medical care more accessible and cheaper in terms of healthcare costs. It won’t be wrong to say that this sector will keep evolving with technological advancements in the near future.