“You can’t improve what you don’t measure” — As an MBA student, this was the first lesson that I was taught. Yet in this age of technology, physicians struggle every day to take care of patients based on amazingly less information, pharmacists struggle in providing the prescribed drugs to patients and in turn frustrated patients struggle with providing right information to doctors and getting suitable drugs from pharmacists.
From Stone Age to Modern Age, we as a mankind have made extraordinary progress in terms of knowledge, technology, infrastructure, medical sciences and so on and so forth…. Talking about biomedical field, there has been huge advances like intense advances in molecular understanding, accurate DNA analysis, DNA alterations, stem cells research, in depth study of pharmacovigilance, etc… This progress made from patient’s bedside to laboratory is incredible.
But have you ever thought of advances in the opposite direction?
What about science and technology coming to patients?
What about laboratory results coming to patients as an understandable medical progress?
What about pharmacists coming to patients (instead of patient reaching pharmacist) for providing necessary drugs?
Thus, through this blog, I will try to touch upon how mobile devices can help in solving some of the above mentioned problems.
Mobile Devices — A Revolution
According to IMS research, in 2012, smartphone sales across globe reached 686 million and by 2016, it is expected to reach 1 billion. If we consider the same growth in smartphone sales then in a decade everyone from teens to the elderly will be carrying a smartphone. Also, these smart devices will exponentially be smarter than what they are today.
Today smart devices are location aware. Tomorrow they will be situational and contextual. Thus for large number of masses, reaching out to pharmacy will be only a tap away from their smart device. And thereby, this will bring revolution in the way patients will be engaged with the healthcare system.
Peep into the Essential Pharmacy System
Here I have shown how pharmacy system will look like in the future. Hospitals and clinics will be connected to Pharmacy Store Server.
- Patient book an appointment for hospital visit from mobile phone.
- Doctor checks the patient and writes down the diagnosis.
- All the patient’s details are updated in the Pharmacy Store Server.
- Pharmacist gets notification about patient’s diagnosis.
- When the prescribed drugs are available and packed, patient gets push notification — Alert on mobile device.
- Reminder – Patient can set the time of his/her arrival at the pharmacist store.
- Patient picks up the drug or can shop from app and get delivery.
- Patient pays from Mobile App via NFC payment option or from eWallet.
- Patient shows the discount coupon from mobile app for discounts.
- Set the reminder for medicine refill in mobile.
- Scan the barcode of bottle / drug packet to refill.
- Patient can search for drugs using brand name or using AR Technology.
- Patient gets information videos on phone
Till now focus was just about patient’s interaction with Pharmacy Store. In the same way, doctors and hospitals can interact with Pharmacy store. Doctors get Alerts on new drugs. Doctors can recommend for new drugs to be made available in the store. One can get clinical research news and updates.
Even communication between pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy store is crucial. Getting clear visibility on drugs stock and notification on replenished drugs is equally useful. Order for drugs from phone by Pharmacy store and get notification to concerned person from pharmaceutical company.
Currently, there are many mobile apps for pharmacy in the market. However, most of them are detached or stand-alone playing the battlefield alone in the market. What will be interesting to watch are integrated mobile applications; which can provide insightful, rightful and timely information. Here I am not talking about a single mobile application that will work for only pharmacy. But an integrated solution right from where doctors fill diagnosis form for the patient to getting drugs from store to pharmaceutical companies managing supply chain.
In the future whatever can be done online will be done on mobile. Right from booking appointment to reminding about the visit to getting alert that “Pharmacy store is closed” or “Your order is ready” to pharmaceutical companies keeping track of sales and MR activity. And this will reform today’s way of healthcare delivery.