by James Morrison B.Sc.Phm. C.D.E.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven dramatic change across community pharmacies. Surveys on COVID-19 conducted by CPhA in April and May revealed that pharmacists were greatly concerned about drug shortages as well as workload and staffing challenges. Pharmacists reported spending 24% of each shift dealing with drug shortages and 46% of pharmacists reported having received no stock of certain medications due to known drug shortages.
A doubling of prescription deliveries to support patients staying at home was also reported.
Average daily deliveries increased from 15 to 33. Pharmacies experienced other changes to the practice environment including the adoption of virtual care for pharmacy services and prescribers working away from their offices with limited assess to regular communication channels such as fax.
Some of these changes to the pharmacy landscape are likely to persist into the future. As we move forward, pharmacists will meet new challenges such as providing injection services during a flu season while COVOD-19 continues to circulate. For these reasons, Wholehealth Pharmacy Partners assembled a panel of leading technology innovators to share solutions to help pharmacies mitigate some of these pressures and embrace ongoing changes to the practice environment.
The panel discussion was hosted by Dean Miller (Wholehealth’s President and CEO) and James Morrison (Wholehealth’s Director of Pharmacy Excellence) and featured the following guests:
- Michael Do – MedEssist
- Bhavesh Modi – PrescribeIT
- Rui Su – MedMe
- Spencer Turbitt – iApotheca Econoroute
Michael Do shared three different technology solutions that MedEssist is working on. Their core offering is an app that allows patients to order their refills, and schedule reminders on when to take medications.
MedEssist Inventory is designed for pharmacies to share medication inventory and source medications at a discount. The pharmacy can post a request for medications that are backordered and needed to fulfill a prescription. This service is free for pharmacies to use.
In anticipation of flu season, MedEssist Vaccinations is being developed to match patient appointments to doses of vaccine and streamline the patient registration process. The goal is to maintain a safe pharmacy environment by controlling patient flow while also advising patients of safety precautions such as requiring face coverings. The web-based service will also automate documentation processes to have records prepared in advance of the appointment.
Our second speaker, Bhavesh Modi, presented on the e-prescribing solution PrescribeIT. The solution enables community-based prescribers to electronically transmit prescriptions directly into the pharmacy’s dispensing software. The prescriber receives notice if the prescription is dispensed or is cancelled. If the pharmacist has concerns with the prescription, they can communicate directly into the prescriber’s electronic medical record. PrescribeIT supports major dispensing software including Fillware, Kroll, and PharmaclikRx. PrescribeIT is not yet active in all regions of Canada. The onboarding process begins when there is an aggregation of prescribers and pharmacies in an area. If you are ready to welcome e-prescribing at your pharmacy, please express interest joining PrescribeIT.
Rui Su presented on MedMe’s virtual care platform. This innovative solution meets regulatory requirements to conduct secure video consultations with patients such as counselling, medication reviews, device training, and more. The platform integrates with some pharmacy dispensing software to automate clinical documentation such as MedsCheck in Ontario. You can also access the platform remotely, so the pharmacist need not be present in the pharmacy to offer virtual care. If you are ready to elevate your pharmacy services with virtual care, please book a demo with MedMe.
The final panelist, Spencer Turbitt, shared details on EconoRoute by iApotheca. The pharmacy enters the delivery orders into the software and with the click of a button the delivery route is optimized by EconoRoute. The solution also provides live updates on the delivery audit trail for every step of the process. Pharmacies can save on wages and gas expense as the software plans out the quickest and most efficient path. Feeling overwhelmed by pharmacy deliveries? Book an EconoRoute demo and see how they can help streamline the process.
In addition to this technology webinar, Wholehealth Pharmacy Partners has prepared an assortment of resources for pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can access COVID-19 materials on our website: https://wholehealthpharmacy.ca/covid19/
Because of the popularity of the webinar and positive feedback received on the topic, Wholehealth will look at doing a follow-up webinar on the technology topic! If there are other topics or technology solutions that you want covered please send email: firstname.lastname@example.org
James Morrison B.Sc.Phm. C.D.E. is the Director of Pharmacy Excellence, Wholehealth Pharmacy Partners