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DIGITALISATION


DIGITALISATION: THE SCOTTISH LANDSCAPE


DEBORAH REEVES, REGIONAL SALES MANAGER AT NUMARK, LOOKS AT HOW MOVING TO MORE DIGITAL-BASED SERVICES CAN BE BENEFICIAL FOR COMMUNITY PHARMACY AND PATIENTS ACROSS THE REGION.


W


ith today’s increasingly complex healthcare landscape, it is essential


that independent community pharmacies work together to make sure they are offering the best services for customers.


A recent report published by the RPS Scotland1 and supported by 18 healthcare organisations has highlighted the importance of digitalisation, how it can help independents in Scotland to work more effi ciently together and allow them to provide a more cohesive service for patients.


Deborah Reeves, Regional Sales Manager at Numark, analyses the report and looks at how moving to more digital-based services can be benefi cial for community pharmacy and patients across the region – a key focus from John D’Arcy’s, Managing Director at Numark speech at the organisation’s recent annual conference.


Not only does a robust digital system enhance clinical decision making, but it also provides a platform for pharmacists to communicate with


62 - SCOTTISH PHARMACIST


stakeholders, share management information and crunch data.


On a regional level, digitalisation means that Scotland-based independents can put themselves ahead of the competition by working more closely with healthcare professionals to provide greater access to data across the industry. This will improve integrated care, and ultimately, create a better level of service and outcomes for patients.


So with the benefi ts of making much greater use of digitisation in pharmacy clear, it seems that it’s something independents in Scotland simply can’t miss out on. That said, the majority of pharmacies are currently limited to using a web-based PMR system and the internet as a means for placing product orders, rather than branching out to more modern IT technology and services.


The new ‘Digital Strategy for Scotland 2017 and Beyond’ report from RPS Scotland is very encouraging. For a while now, the region has somewhat lacked an integrated approach to digital activity in community pharmacy, so it’s promising to see a


by Deborah Reeves, Regional Sales Manager, Numark


more linked, patient-centric approach being supported by some of the leading organisations and infl uencers in Scotland. The report highlights the benefi ts of greater primate care cooperation and the critical role digital technology has to place in facilitating it.


CONSIDERATIONS


As with any change, the move towards a more digital way of working will not come without its challenges.


In Scotland, there are major gaps around broadband, for example, with many rural areas having limited or sometimes no access to internet at all, meaning there can often be a divide between the development of more central located pharmacies and remote ones.


As referenced in the RPS report, initiatives, such as Scotland’s Digital Future – Infrastructure Action Plan2, are set to change this, with commitments to future-proofi ng infrastructure that will deliver digital connectivity across the whole of Scotland by 2020.


DIGITAL SUCCESS


As with all new developments, Scotland has seen some early adopters who have embraced the shift toward digitalisation, while others work at a much slower pace. If it is to really take off we must see a united approach


– that’s why Numark is encouraging all pharmacy owners to embrace the opportunity.


IMPROVING PATIENT CARE With YouGov3 research revealing that 85 per cent of the British public want any healthcare professional treating them to have secure electronic access to key data from the GP record, there needs to be an improvement in information sharing between healthcare professionals.


To make this possible, Numark is working with key providers in Scotland, such as EMIS Health and PharmAssist, to supply systems and IT technology that is capable of linking healthcare professionals across the region.


As part of its membership, Numark also offers a Pharmacy App that can be downloaded to patients’ smartphones and enables them to manage their prescriptions remotely.


If independents get on board with a more digital approach, it will enable patients across Scotland to receive fl exible, effi cient and effective care, wherever it is provided.


For further information on how Numark can help your pharmacy take a more digital approach to healthcare, visit: www.numarknet.com.


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