Consumers live in a digital world and while that presents certain challenges, community pharmacy has to engage with that world and take advantage of what it offers, Joe McKenna director of sales at AAH Pharmaceuticals told Avicenna conference delegates.

One such challenge is “Dr Google” – 80 per cent of patients Google their symptoms before seeking professional healthcare advice, which can lead to incorrect diagnoses, wrong solutions and a lack of advice for the patient. What’s more, 71 per cent of the UK population has a smartphone, with 28 per cent of 65-74 year olds owning one in 2015 – a 40 per cent growth in two years. However, only two per cent of the population report any digitally enabled transaction with the NHS, presenting a huge gap in the market. “Patients want it, so pharmacy will have to fulfil that gap,” said Mr McKenna.

Emphasising this need, Mr McKenna highlighted a recent survey of 7,000 people which showed that: 60 per cent said they would monitor their long-term condition using a mobile app, 80 per cent would like to view medical records online, 90 per cent would use an online GP appointment booking service and 90 per cent would use a service allowing them to ask a clinician a question.

“Patients have been encouraged to have an opinion and enabled and empowered through online information to manage their long-term conditions. There is an opportunity to build on this and use the trust and respect of community pharmacy to help them,” said Mr McKenna. “With digital, there are more touch points along a patient’s journey for pharmacy to offer advice.

“The market is moving and digital disruption is happening. Pharmacy has to keep pace with the market and consumer demand.”

Explaining the disruption of big online businesses such as Uber, Amazon, Airbnb and Netflix, Mr McKenna warned delegates that if community pharmacy doesn’t change the way it interacts with patients, it leaves itself open to someone else disrupting the market. However, Mr McKenna added that pharmacies should always put patients at the centre of what they do: “What made companies such as Uber, Amazon, Netflix, and Airbnb successful was they gave people different choices and put the customer at the centre. Stay customer centric and there is every opportunity for pharmacy to flourish in the new world. “

 

Originally Published by Training Matters

We Recommend

Pharmacy Voice to disband following NPA split

The trade body said that it cannot continue without one of its members, but that current projects would continue for now

PGEU sets out pharmacovigilance recommendations

Community pharmacists are 'profoundly implicated' in pharmacovigilance, the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union s...

Popular Features

Deciding to deliver or not to deliver?

Noel Wicks shares lessons learned about running an efficient delivery service To deliver or not to deliver, that is a qu...

Quality payments and patient safety

Dawn Williams, head of customer development at Celesio UK, looks key steps to meet patient safety criteria for the Quali...

Bullying at work does really happen

According to a 2015 report, workplace bullying is on the rise, with about 20,000 calls relating to bullying each year.