How Technology is Helping Improve the Pharmaceutical Industry

Technology Pharmaceutical IndustryAn industry faced with challenging regulatory requirements, the pharmaceutical industry can significantly benefit from the use of technology. Pharmacy technology allows retail and outpatient pharmacies to drive improvements in their business.  How exactly? Let’s find out!

By implementing technology for their business, pharmacies can ensure the deliverance of better healthcare to patients. Moreover, this helps them to improve their operational, compliance, clinical, regulatory, and financial performance. A dynamic practice, the use of technology in the pharmaceutical industry isn’t expected to die down anytime soon.

In addition to improving their access to vital medical and patient information, technology helps pharmacies to increase efficiency in their daily tasks. The potential benefits aren’t the only thing driving the adoption of technology in the pharmaceutical industry—federal legislation is also playing a role in increasing pharmacy technology adoption. How medications are prescribed, supplied and regulated in the U.S and abroad is changing rapidly and central to this transformation is Health information technology (HIT)—the information technology applicable to health and healthcare.

Comprising of a wide range of tools used to electronically manage and share patient information, HIT is pushing paper records into oblivion.  In addition to helping them make decisions in real time, HIT allows pharmacies and pharmacists to use their skills in innovative ways to provide better service or care to patients. In short, HIT is helping the pharmaceutical industry to lower the cost of care, improve patient outcomes, and have a positive impact on patient care.  With that in mind, here are 4 technology trends improving/transforming the pharmaceutical industry.

E-Prescribing

A major part of electronic health records, E-prescribing is one of the methods employed by clinicians to meet the Affordable Care Act requirements. Contrary to popular belief, e-prescribing does not just benefit healthcare providers, it is also helpful for pharmacies. With e-prescribing, pharmacists can save valuable time and resources.

To ensure seamless patient care, transferring the discharge prescription of a patient from secondary to primary accurately and on time is crucial. Additionally, this helps prevent errors caused by miscommunications. In recent times, many hospitals have invested in e-prescribing systems. In hospitals, e-prescribing systems are used to automate not just prescribing of medicines, but also their administration and supply. In many cases, this has helped hospitals to lower medication errors, which in turn has helped them improve patient safety.

However, there are a few disadvantages of using the e-prescribing systems. First, they may have data fields that are not in the required format or may not have all the decision support functions. Additionally, rather than directing it to community pharmacists, e-prescribing systems direct discharge information to general physicians.

Completely legible, e-prescriptions provide pharmacists with the patient record to help them assess potentially hazardous drug interactions. Additionally, the pharmacists no longer have to contact healthcare providers about contentious prescriptions. Also, it helps saves patients from any unpleasant surprises when they source their medication. E-prescribing allows pharmacists and healthcare providers to know on the spot whether the insurance plan of a patient covers a drug. Another advantage of e-prescribing is that only a few clicks are required with it to automate the refill authorization process.

Recording the Immunizations Provided by Pharmacists

Medical professionals that play a highly significant role in community health, pharmacists are the people responsible for administering immunizations. The amount and types of immunizations that local pharmacists can provide to patients are being increased by state governments each year. The popularity of vaccinations administered by pharmacists can be gauged by the fact that almost fifteen percent of all flu vaccines in 2012 were carried out at local pharmacies.

Thanks to technological advancement, it is now possible to document vaccines administered at pharmacies to provides patients and their health care providers with an accurate and complete health record. Additionally, this allows the pharmacies that administer immunizations to streamlines the process of insurance reimbursement, which ultimately benefits their bottom line.

Barcode Identification

When used in conjunction with e-prescribing systems, barcode identification of medicines has shown to lower errors in medicine administration and improve medication history completeness. However, health professionals often erect ways to evade barcode scanning because they see the barcode identification of medicines as a disruptive process.

To help tackle forgery, Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD)—a directive for health care providers in Europe, advises unique identification of medicines at the place of discharge. Though the system supporting this is yet to be developed, the process in all likelihood will involve barcode medicine identification and as such, will have a significant impact on the pharmacy workflow.

Telecare

The provision of healthcare services and consultations to patients at their home via digital communications technology is referred to as telecare. There are many potential benefits of telecare including lowering the need to attend hospitals to improve access to healthcare, putting patients at the center of their care, and reducing healthcare costs and travelling times. However, the different care scenarios and applications are what the benefits provided by telecare are dependent on. Also, existing research suggests that more evidence on the benefits of telecare and its cost-effectiveness is required to justify further investments in the technology.

As seen above, technology is drastically changing the pharmaceutical industry—improving the provision of healthcare and lowering costs significantly. While the aforementioned-things are significant technological developments in the pharmaceutical industry, they are not only technology enabling pharmacies to improve operations and provide better care to patients.

Other technology making a difference in the pharmaceutical industry includes adherence monitoring, mobile technology, automated dispensing, and medication therapy management technology.

VR and Internet of Things are fast becoming new technologies that businesses are utilizing.  We, here at Percento, are always working hard to tool up to support all new technologies for business. It’s very exciting times.

by Bobby J Davidson

We love our company and we love what we do.  Check out the ‘Why Percento‘ page to learn more: Love of Technology and Business!  Contact me today to discuss how our great team can assist: 1 800 614 7886 or our Contact Form.

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