This week, the popular children’s cartoon series Peppa Pig was blamed for piling pressure on GPs. In an article that appeared in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Dr Catherine Bell suggested that the character of Dr Brown Bear, who regular attends to the ailments of the Pig family, is guilty of encouraging unrealistic expectations of General Practitioners, particularly as the mentioned doctor is regularly seen dispensing medicines for minor ailments.
The pharmacy front line
While the article understandably caused a number of raised eyebrows for its unusual suggestion, not to mention a flurry of media coverage, there was nevertheless an important message behind the headline grabbing diagnosis.
In the article, Dr Bell went on to encourage the population to consider their options before placing additional pressures on GP surgeries.
“At this incredibly tough time for the health service, we would encourage patients to think hard as to whether they need the services of a GP when they or their children are ill, or whether they can self-care or seek help from pharmacists, who are highly-trained to offer advice to patients with minor ailments,” she wrote.
We have written before about the role pharmacies play in delivering front line services to patients. And while there is nothing new in this concept, this focus on patient-centric services is becoming increasingly important to the future of community pharmacy in the UK.
While pharmacists have always aimed to spend as much time serving patients as possible, finding the available time to do so has often been a challenge. The processes involved in dispensing and running a successful pharmacy business can often limit a pharmacist’s capacity to deliver patient-centric services, such as Medicines Use Reviews (MURs), New Medicine Services (NMSs) or even general patient advice. However, the use of technology in the pharmacy environment is starting to change this.
Improving patient service through technology
By investing in technology, pharmacy businesses can streamline a number of aspects of their operations. This can include using order management technology to streamline the buying process, ensuring greater savings as well reducing the amount of resources required to buy effectively, as well as implementing different aspects of automation to aid in the dispensing process. This saved time allows pharmacists to increase their focus on delivering patient services.
Technology can also help target these services too. Effective use of PMR and EPoS systems within the pharmacy environment, for example, can highlight when patients are due MURs or other forms of consultation, while building patient profiles within these systems can help market services effectively. This might include creating a list of patients due flu-jabs ahead of the winter, for example.
By using technology to deliver a more patient-centric service pharmacies can improve their business performance and take advantage of the opportunities to deliver front-line patient services.
Want to find out how technology can help your pharmacy? Contact Positive Solutions today