Patient care doesn’t begin and end at the doctor’s office or hospital. Pharmacists are responsible for providing patients with medication essential to their health and instructing them in how to use that medication in the safest way possible. When delays, dispensation problems, or human error get in the way of a patient receiving his or her medication, patient care goes downhill quickly. Some of the most innovative pharmaceutical technologies are actually simple solutions to common pharmacy problems, yet they improve patient care by a huge margin.
Electronic Prior Authorization
Many insurance companies require prior authorization to determine whether they’ll cover a prescription. Prior authorization means that the doctor’s office doing the prescribing has to fill out a form and submit it to the insurance agency. Before electronic prior authorization, the process was lengthy and resulted in patients’ having to wait before they could pick up their medication. Now, electronic prior authorization automatically sends a notification to the prescribing doctor, who can submit the form online. Sometimes patients and pharmacies are unaware that prior authorization even happened between submitting the prescription and picking it up.
Automated Medication Dispensing
In an industry where quantities of medications are so important, robots have come onto the scene as dispensers only in the past few decades. Automated dispensing reduces human error in counting out the correct number of pills or measuring the right dosage of a medication. Robots can fill far more orders than humans can with better accuracy; though the technology isn’t in use everywhere, UK pharmacies that use dispensing robots see fewer dispensing errors and a better use of space overall in the pharmacy.
New OTC Products
Many people appreciate the ability to chat with a pharmacist about over-the-counter (OTC) products used to treat minor ailments and illnesses. Large pharmaceutical companies need funding and technological advances to continue developing the OTC products that help many people make it through cold and flu season, joint pain, and lots of other problems associated with simply being alive. McKesson Corp just purchased Rexall Health, a company that has been growing its OTC product line over the past few years. The acquisition will help Rexall Health continue to grow patient care technology that can respond to complex patient needs.
Prescription Drug Monitoring
Substance abuse remains a devastating problem throughout the world, and certain prescription medications play a large part. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) connect with pharmacies to gather their electronic prescription and dispensing data relating to prescription drugs. This data becomes available to various law enforcement agencies so that they can monitor drug usage, prevent drug abuse, and educate people about it. PDMP doesn’t interfere with controlled substances when prescribed by a medical professional and used correctly under medical supervision.
Think about all the technological advances that make going to the pharmacy easier: electronic refills, texts when your prescriptions are ready, and so much more. You save time, the pharmacy collects valuable data, and there are fewer errors overall. Technology is essential to your receiving the best patient care at your pharmacy.