Today's new challenges in pharmacy
Posted Nov 17, 2019 by Enrico Donà, sales manager
Efficiency and service to patient is more and more the most important challenge today pharmacy is facing. The process of dispensing prescriptions is complicate and requiring a lot of resources from pharmacy staff in terms of time and energies. From the other hand patient is requiring both an easy and faster service and easy access to pharmacist’s counselling and education. Combining patient’s expectations and efficiency in the internal workflow of the pharmacy is really putting pharmacist in a difficult situation. Moreover, the challenge is made even tougher to achieve by more and more financial cut that insurances and governments are doing in the last few years. In other words we are in a situation where it is required pharmacy to do more, to provide more services to patients in a scenario of declining financing and investments.
Financial difficulties is an issue pharmacy is facing in many different countries and it is an issue for pharmacy belonging to independent owners, small group and large multiples as well.
Lloydspharmacy’s has blamed a “challenging retail pharmacy environment in the UK” for a 19% drop in profits across its European business. In the three months to September the profit was $ 43 million , a 19% drop on the same period the previous year.
Llloyds pharmacy tried to close or sell 190 pharmacies in 20198: as far as identified by Chemist and Druggist 78 branches have been closed and 104 have been sold. In the next months it is expected Lloyds to close more pharmacies. (Chemist+Druggist 29/10/2019)
Walgreens Boots Alliance announced on October 28 its latest financial results confirming it “is on track to consolidate” the close of 200 branches by the end of August 2020.
According to its latest financial result Boots saw a 20.7% drop in profits for retail pharmacy in the three months to August which followed a 10.5% year-on-year drop recorded in the three months to May.
Boots UK specifically had “lower script volume and lower NHS funding level” as they revealed in a presentation published alongside the financial results.
Comparable retail sales for Boots UK decreased 3.1% “as the UK market continued be very challenging” it added. (Chemist +Druggist, 29/10/2019).
Taking in consideration all those difficulties and this more and more complicated environment we believe the only way for finding a solution is the new digital technologies and robotic. Pharmacist can be supported by robotic during his daily job in order to perform his activities more efficiently and with a smaller amount of time and energies. We did focus our attention in the process of dispensing the prescription: actually, the delivery of the prescribed medicines through the counter is a long process. In particular way pharmacy is managing the dispensing of repeated prescriptions in a very inefficient way: here technology can help pharmacist.
Once pharmacist has prepared the prescribed medicines, the delivery to patient is a mechanical process where operator gives a bag to patient and pharmacist collects payment from him. This part of pharmacist’s daily job is taking a lot of time and energies and it is not what a patient really needs from a pharmacist: an important Dutch group of pharmacies did calculate that their pharmacist spent between 5 and 7 minutes just for finding the bag in the rack, delivering it to patient and collecting payment.
The same group of pharmacies reduces this time to a few seconds by installing a PHARMASELF24. PHARMASELF24 is an automatic dispenser for the collection of prescriptions. So once pharmacist has prepared the bag for a patient, he/she just load the bag into the PHARMASELF24 and the PHARMASELF24 does the rest of the job. Immediately the PHARMASELF24 notifies by sms, email or APP patient that his bag is ready for collection, the PIN CODE to enter and the amount to be paid (if there is one). The patient is free to collect his medicines 24/7 at the PHARMASELF24 just by entering the code he/she received at his cell phone.
(Gary Paragpuri, www.pharmacy.biz)