The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the acceptance and use of technology in healthcare. E-health became a necessity as telehealth consultations increased and hard-copy scripts were no longer practical. This experience has shown that pharmacies that can adapt quickly to the changing environment and the needs of their patients can pivot effectively with little disruption to their care.
According to Luke Owen, Pharmacist at Blooms The Chemist Erina, agility is key in responding rapidly to external factors that can impact normal operations.
“Blooms The Chemist is unique in the speed at which we are embracing technology and getting patients on board. We understand that the future patient will expect pharmacy to be where they are, whether that’s in-store or online.
“Blooms The Chemist has rapidly embraced technology that makes filling scripts and managing repeat scripts easier for patients and pharmacy staff, allowing Pharmacists more time for direct patient care,” says Owen.
New technology is not just restricted to patient care. It is also helping Pharmacists build customer loyalty and enhance the retail experience for patients in-store and online.
Carl Okeson, Pharmacist-Owner at Blooms The Chemist Colac, has seen the uptake of apps, such as MedAdvisor, positively impact patient care.
”MedAdvisor is a convenient way for people to visualise and manage their scripts; they get to skip the queue and manage multiple scripts and repeats with ease.”
Now with more than 500 patients using MedAdvisor, Okeson has seen many customers, including those over 60 years, adapt well to the new technology and, in some instances, change their regular pharmacy to set up their care with MedAdvisor at his store.
According to Okeson, MedAdvisor also benefits his pharmacy. ”MedAdvisor builds customer loyalty as you have the patients’ script on file, and it helps you manage your workflow.”
Incorporating technology such as e-scripts and MedAdvisor into daily operations helps Blooms The Chemist prepare for the prescription filling needs — and patient care needs — of the future.
“Our ageing population presents a unique challenge; pharmacies will be servicing more scripts to more patients, with the same or fewer resources. Technology enables us to fast track that process and spend our time adding value to their lives, checking-in, counselling and caring for our patients,” says Owen.
Technology has also improved patient care by increasing the uptake of health services in-store.
“In June 2021, Blooms The Chemist implemented an in-store booking service with Appointment Plus; this helped us manage our COVID-19 vaccination booking process with more than 80,000 vaccinations provided in our pharmacies. With Blooms The Chemist representing 2% of the national pharmacy footprint, we delivered 4% of total vaccinations administered in pharmacy. This technology helped us plan the resources needed to commit to this service and deliver all our core services to our patients,” says Owen
Sharing information with relevant government agencies is also streamlined with the application of new technologies. “Booking system technology has allowed Blooms The Chemist to harmonise three data points into one across the Pharmacy Programs Administrator Portal, PharmaPrograms and the Australian Immunisation Register,” continues Owen. “This streamlined the vaccination certification process for patients and the remuneration process for the pharmacies.”
Understanding the community, building rapport, and knowing customers on a first-name basis is a core focus of Pharmacists and store teams across Blooms The Chemist’s network.
“We use technology to enhance our patients’ in-store experience and create an online world that mimics those experiences. This helps us better serve our patients and be ready to serve the needs of our patients in the future,” concludes Owen.