Health Service Focus

31.07.19

National Pharmacy Association: Community pharmacy in the digital age

From July/August issue of NHE
 

Harpreet Chana, the National Pharmacy Association’s digital programme director, discusses the journey ahead for the pharmaceutical sector in the new age of digital.

Advances in digital technology have already significantly changed the way healthcare is delivered and experienced. Pharmacy is no exception, but there remains a long journey ahead, both for our sector and the wider health and social care system.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) believes that pharmacies must be progressive and modern, whilst at the same time being true to the historic values of pharmacy as a personal, caring profession; efficient healthcare with a human touch.

We want to help our members, who are pharmacy owners, to operate efficiently, integrate more fully with other health services, and give patients the best possible experience of pharmacy services. Our membership is varied and some members run small businesses, so it is difficult for them on their own to invest in technology the same way that a bigger ‘multiple’ can do. Part of our role is to do some of the vetting of technology providers for them and describe the digital landscape in a way that everyone can understand. This is against the backdrop of potentially substantial changes in pharmacy business structures and the scope of pharmacy practice in the near future.

Championed by the current health secretary, there are now a myriad of digital solutions and apps available for patients to take more control of their own care, with their individual patient record at the centre. Many of these allow patients to access their medical history and order their repeat medicines online.

In addition, interoperability across healthcare providers, including those in primary care, is an important feature of seamless care and we want to make sure that community pharmacy is connected digitally as well as culturally to other parts of the health service.

Harpreet Chana

Harpreet Chana, the National Pharmacy Association’s digital programme director, discusses the journey ahead for the pharmaceutical sector in the new age of digital.
 

The Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS) is perhaps a sign of things to come. DMIRS, which is still in pilot phase and not yet available nationwide, involves referrals from NHS 111 following an assessment by a call advisor. This leads to the patient being transferred for a consultation with a community pharmacist instead of being booked for an urgent GP appointment. The pharmacist carries out a consultation with the patient in the privacy of a consultation room and assesses symptoms of minor illness. The ‘digital’ bit of DMIRS is the software that enables a straightforward referral into the pharmacy.

DMIRS fits the NPA’s vision for a tech-enabled sector, better integrated with other health services, with pharmacies operating efficiently as neighbourhood health and wellbeing centres and recognised as the front door to health care.

Some uses of technology are controversial in the sector, for example the growth of online pharmacies. Modern consumers, including NHS patients, expect online to be part of their experience. However, local pharmacies provide a range of NHS and non-NHS services close to where people live, work, and shop and, for most people, is the first port of call for advice and treatment.

There is more consensus around calls for pharmacists to have ‘write access’ to patients’ summary care records (read access is already widespread), so that they can make the patient’s GP aware in real time of any interventions that have been made by the pharmacy. This could include, for example, a blood pressure measurement, a flu jab or advice about the use of prescribed medicines.

The NPA plans to help our members use digital technology to deliver pioneering new services, keep up with modern consumer expectations and integrate effectively with other parts of the healthcare system. If we can achieve that, we will have done a service not only to members but to the millions of people who use and value pharmacies across the UK.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

UH Bristol NHS Foundation Trust retains ‘Outstanding’ rating from CQC

16/08/2019UH Bristol NHS Foundation Trust retains ‘Outstanding’ rating from CQC

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has once again been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by inspectors from the Care Quality Comm... more >
Government announces £25m Brexit medicines ‘express freight service’

15/08/2019Government announces £25m Brexit medicines ‘express freight service’

In the event of a No Deal Brexit, the Government has announced the setting up of a high-speed train service to ferry medicine to the UK from Fran... more >
CQC rates Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust ‘Good’

14/08/2019CQC rates Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust ‘Good’

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust has achieved a score of ‘Good’ following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). ... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Urology nurses are leading the way in adoption of prostate cancer biopsy technique

11/07/2019Urology nurses are leading the way in adoption of prostate cancer biopsy technique

Jonah Rusere, Advanced Nurse Practitioner for South East London Accountable Cancer Network, outlines an opportunity for urology nurses to make a difference to prostate cancer pathways. What is TRexit and why is it great news for prostate cancer patients all over the country? Let me explain. TRexit is the name given to a national initiative for hospitals to phase out TRUS biopsies and replace them with transperineal biopsies un... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >
Pay and reward in the NHS needs to be taken seriously

10/06/2019Pay and reward in the NHS needs to be taken seriously

Ben Gershlick, senior economics analyst at the Health Foundation, examines the new pay deal for NHS staff.  More than £50bn is sp... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >
Tackling infection prevention locally

04/10/2017Tackling infection prevention locally

Dr Emma Burnett, a lecturer and researcher in infection prevention at the University of Dundee’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and a boar... more >