Technology Enabled Pharmacy
Technology Enabled Pharmacy is a great idea, which I believe could greatly improve patient well-being and make life better for everyone. The concept is simple. In recent years, the pharmacy profession has been actively searching for new professional roles at a time when new technologies have been disrupting the management and the treatment of health and disease. A creative response to these trends would be to make pharmacies technology-enabled.
In the article Community pharmacies deserve a renaissance, I argued that, in coming years, healthcare will increasingly be built around technology-enabled patients. In response, community pharmacies should become the healthcare technology hubs of the future. Obviously, the idea needs testing and evaluating through scientific research. This promising new direction could radically change the ways in which patients interact with pharmacists, medicines and their health.
To make Technology Enabled Pharmacy a reality, I suggest the following five steps:
1. Refit the “front of house” as a technology-hub that allows patients to connect with the pharmacy, local doctors, the healthcare system, pharmaceutical companies, charities, other patients and the like
2. Exploit the time that patients wait for their prescriptions by connecting them to a technology-enabled task, such as reporting on their medicines use, watching an interactive educational programme, completing a questionnaire, or being an expert-patient in a study
3. Network the pharmacy hub into the wider healthcare community, including providers, patient groups and private companies — and by doing so become the port of first call for patients — and coordinate their care through the pharmacy’s technology enabled network
4. Retrain pharmacists in healthcare technology not just medicines optimisation
5. Educate and enable the public to become technology-enabled pharmacy users
Through my research, I wish to help make Technology Enabled Pharmacy a real option for pharmacists and their patients. To do so, I have planned a programme of research, publications and impact that will test, analyse and disseminate this innovative idea. The work has already begun with a Coventry University sponsored PhD studentship awarded to Imandeep Gahir, who is currently examining the feasibility of Technology Enabled Pharmacy as a new model of care.Background
Pharmacy is my passion. I have spent over 20 years investigating, researching and writing about the best ways to reform pharmacy services. (See publication list below.) My long term ambition is to help innovate the ways in which pharmacy services are organised so that health technology becomes the driving force for beneficial change. Key to my approach is the belief that we need to learn from the past to discover the path to a better future. In other words, we need to put “history into action” when thinking creatively about the way ahead for pharmacy services.
In my work, I always strive to demonstrate how changes in society and medicine have combined, across time, to shape the pharmacy services offered to patients. I believe that a better public understanding of the evolution of pharmacy could improve the ways in which pharmacy services are used in contemporary society. A great source of inspiration has been the archives of the Wellcome Collection and the Science Museum. Their contents clearly demonstrate how advances in science, technology and medicine have interacted over recent history to shape the local pharmacy services we know today.
If you wish to find out more about my work on Technology Enabled Pharmacy, please email me or follow my twitter account: @darrinbaines
Baines D. (2015). Community pharmacies deserve a renaissance. International Pharmacy Journal, Vol.33 No2, pp.46-47.
Baines D. (2015). Dispensing: it’s time to let go. The Pharmaceutical Journal. 294, No.7847, pp.113-14
Baines, D. L., Gahir, I. K., Hussain, A., Khan, A. J., Schneider, P., Hasan, S. S., & Babar, Z. U. D. (2018). A scoping review of the quality and the design of evaluations of mobile health, telehealth, smart pump and monitoring technologies performed in a pharmacy-related setting. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 678.
Baines D, Bates I, Bader L, Hale C, Schneider P. (2018). Conceptualising production, productivity and technology in pharmacy practice: A novel framework for policy, education and research. Human Resources Health.