Pharmacies are a vital part of every culture. They act as go-betweens for patients and doctors, and make sure medication lands in the right hands. It’s not surprising, then, that you chose to make your healthcare mark this way.
If your pharmacy is anything like most, though, you may be feeling at an impasse in operations right now. And, as is always the case when industries change, staying open is about keeping up. In this instance, changes mainly revolve around technology. Of course, technology is nothing new to this field. Basic electronics like a pharmacy fridge, a computer, and a till have been staples for years now. Still, things are on the move, and keeping up may be about doing more than just implementing methods everyone else is already using.
Instead, your pharmacy could benefit from looking further forward. Imagine how much better your reputation could be if you were the first pharmacy in your area to implement new tech methods. Patients would come flocking, and your enterprise would thrive as a result.
Lucky for you, we’re on the cusp of a few pharmacy tech advancements right now, and we’re going to look at them here.
The job of a pharmacist is pretty intense. Not only do professionals in this field serve and advise customers, but they also dispense prescriptions and provide vaccinations. In short; there are a lot of balls to juggle, and it could easily lead your pharmacist to take their eye off the ball in fatal ways. Not to mention that it can fast lead to burnout or even career dissatisfaction.
The good news is that automated dispensing is well on its way, and you could benefit a great deal from jumping on board. Admittedly, this isn’t an entirely new concept. Reports published as early as 2001 advocated the use of automation in medical dispensing and this has already been implemented within hospital settings. Still, the size and cost of robots like these have kept most pharmacists away.
Now, though, smaller and more efficient machines are in the making, and you may well benefit from considering them. Of course, technologies like these are always going to come complete with price tags through the roof. There’s no denying that you may need to take a loan or even settle for rentals to get you started here.
Still, these efforts could soon pay for themselves. As soon as you automate this long-winded process, you free your staff to be more efficient and focus on impressing patients, which is really where your profits lie. Keep an eye on the market, then. You might find that automation like this isn’t as far from your grasp as you think.
Wider Mobile Use
We love using our mobiles for everything now, and most companies have realised as much. That’s why it’s possible to get apps for everything from online shopping to online banking and more. Even schools now rely on mobile apps for everything from sickness tracking to sending out school updates. Despite this influx of mobile-based customers, though, pharmacies have primarily fallen behind in this area. Some pharmacists have developed a texting system to inform patients when their medications are ready, but many would argue it isn’t enough.
Instead, pharmacists should consider different and more interactive ways to develop mobile use. An app which provides the ability to order repeat prescriptions or even get a break down of what their medicine will do would be fantastic here. Equally, an app-based diagnostic tool could be an excellent guide and could also reduce the work of your team. Obviously, you will need to emphasise that patients should speak to you if they’re uncertain. Still, an easy app like this can go a long way towards giving them some idea of whether a physical visit is even necessary. The fun and interactive nature of these efforts will also go a considerable way towards winning you more leads. And, app development needn’t even be as complicated as you may imagine.
Websites With Information In Mind
Any business now needs a website, and pharmacies are no different. The chances are that you already know this and have taken steps towards it. Still, it’s worth noting that a standard web page isn’t enough to win custom anymore. This is a staple, but it isn’t necessarily a guarantee that you’ll stand out above competitors.
To achieve that, you might want to consider designing your website with information in mind. Along the same lines as your app, this can help to inform your patients. Luckily, blogs are now big news in business, and developing one on your site could be what you need.
Taking time to write blog posts like ‘top 10 medicines for hay fever’ and ‘sure signs you need a flu jab’ is a fun and interactive way to advise patients. While a blog post cannot replace a proper diagnosis, it can at least guide patients in the right direction so that they know what they need when they come to you. As it that weren’t enough, a blog can also work wonders for increasing website traffic, and thus hopefully bring a stream of patients your way.
As a pharmacy you need to keep introducing your customers to new products. You can also start a help section for answering many of the queries that customers usually have. For example, a simple issue that millions of people face all over the world when taking medications is swallowing them. As a pharmacy, you can inform and educate customers that they can go for an oral medication help like a swallowing gel that can help them intake their pills comfortably. This will not only help you come across as a customer-friendly and credible pharmacy, but also help you improve the sales or a product.
All pharmacies now use computer management systems for monitoring and dispensing medications. In most instances, though, these systems are basic and functional. In reality, looking into the more advanced offerings on the market could see you enjoying many benefits, including all-important prescription interventions.
It has long been the case that pharmacists are expected to dispense wisely and look out for habit-forming behaviours, but this isn’t always easy to achieve. There is certainly a lot of room for human error here. By comparison, a computer system which flags when a prescription intervention is necessary could save a patient and, ultimately, your reputation.
Tackling tech can be daunting, especially when there are patient lives in your hands. Still, as you can see, the technologies currently in the works can help rather than harm both your patients and your pharmacy.