Ron Mack believes that the best pharmacy teams offer patients much more than prescriptions.
By donalee Moulton
Photography by Bob Deutscher
It’s about adding value to their experience. That belief is transformed into action at Brunskill Pharmacy in Saskatoon – the first pharmacy in the city to provide patients with access to TELUS Pharma Space.
TELUS Pharma Space is a web portal that patients use for instant access to a variety of services and information with a simple click of button. This includes:
- refilling prescriptions from the convenience of their computers or mobile devices
- automating renewals for the duration of their prescription
- accessing their personal medication record securely whenever they want
- viewing their family members’ drug profiles (with consent) with the family module
- accessing patient counselling sheets
- setting up reminder alerts
- generating a list of all prescription drugs purchased over a given period such as the current tax year, and using the list for filing tax returns.
“It’s about ease and convenience,” says Mack, who has been offering access to the portal for more than a year.
Multiple options for customers
The simplicity and effectiveness of the TELUS Pharma Space patient portal, which is completely integrated with pharmacy practice management software, appeals to many customers. That appeal is growing, especially for customers who use the mobile app, notes Mack. “People are very attached to their phone these days. Enabling them to communicate with you this way is a plus.”
Mack and his team inform customers about the TELUS Pharma Space patient portal as they’re finishing filling a prescription. “It’s part of the discussion we have with every patient,” says Mack. “We highlight the benefits and let people know there is no charge.”
There is also no pressure. “This is a conversation,” he adds. “It isn’t a sales pitch. It’s about value add.”
Healthy and helpful information
The benefits of TELUS Pharma Space are linked to its ability to provide instant access to relevant and accurate information. That benefit extends to providing information on patients’ conditions with the click of a button or the press of a finger.
“We always point out that they can access a reliable source of information,” Mack says. “It’s about patient education. It’s a quick way for patients to get answers to their questions – and more.”
Drug adherence is also enhanced with a patient engagement portal such as TELUS Pharma Space. Because patients can view the drugs entered in their profile, request prescription refills, and track prescription status, they’re less likely to forget to renew a prescription or let one lapse. Pharmacists also benefit from access to consolidated, real-time prescribing information.
Caregivers and health professionals are also helped. Patients can authorize someone else access to their drug profile, whether it be a relative or any healthcare provider via a consent manager.
Building business one click at a time
Increased customer satisfaction is good for business. Mack notes that many of his customers are surprised an independent pharmacy like Brunskill Pharmacy is offering TELUS Pharma Space. “It differentiates us from the competition, and at the same time, it reassures customers we can offer the same range of services as a larger chain,” he says.
By saving customers the need to make a call or drop by the pharmacy, the program also saves pharmacy staff from having to answer calls for refills or take them in person. It’s more efficient – but this is not what drives Mack and his staff to offer TELUS Pharma Space. “This is about customer service,” stresses Mack. “It’s our response to what is happening out there in the world.”
For pharmacies that don’t have their own websites, TELUS Pharma Space provides independents with customization of the pharmacy page, including the pharmacy’s address, picture and opening hours when patients log in. Banners and other groups integrate the software as a back engine tool on their own sites, and customers use the tool when they are at their site.
The online patient portal tool adapts to the reality of the pharmacy so that customers can easily access it. That is the key to Pharma Space’s success.