4 MINS READ
A bitter pill for pharmacies
Pharmacies touch a million lives. By making available medicines on time for those who need them, they help people manage their health and lead better lives. However, for many established players, legacy applications are limiting their ability to provide efficient and effective patient care. Take the case of pharmacies in countries such as the United States where they play a key role in dispensing prescription drugs to patients. Here are some of the major challenges they face:
With growing competition from startups and technology companies who are disrupting the healthcare business, it is time for traditional pharmacy companies to change. They need to leverage new tech and reimagine the patient experience. By modernizing their legacy applications in the cloud, pharmacies can improve their scalability, security, and performance, and serve patients better.
A booster shot
Elevated experiences for both patients and pharmacists
The benefits are many. Imagine millions of physical and electronic prescriptions being processed in milli-seconds. This rapid speed of prescription processing is already happening with the combined power of cloud and AI technologies such as computer vision, and optical character recognition (OCR). Patient drug refill process can be further improved using automated label scanning on the refill bottle and automated verification of the drug image against a library of branded drug images. Then, there is better matching for patient instructions. Electronic prescription (eRX) information received from employee health record (EHR) systems can be automatically extracted, improving accuracy by up to 80% over information retrieved from legacy systems.
Pharmacists and technicians can focus on engaging better with patients as they don’t have to unduly worry about things like duplication of patient data or manual generation of prescriptions. An AI-ML solution can identify duplicate patient data and either merge or purge duplicates using batch processes. Up to 60% of prescriptions can be generated automatically without their intervention using OCR on physical prescriptions and natural language processing on electronic prescriptions.
There’s more—with a centralized database, companies can provide a consistent experience for users and customers across the web, mobile devices, and physical stores. And by moving processes to a web or mobile application, patients can get the care and support they need in the comfort of their own homes, while also allowing technicians to provide that support remotely. All of this translates into reduced operational costs and an elevated experience for patients as well as pharmacists and technicians.
Prescription for success
Legacy application modernization: Things to keep in mind
When considering the modernization of legacy applications in the cloud, here are some factors that pharmacy companies need to consider:
Overall approach: Choose the modernization approach you want to take—a phase-wise modernization or moving all of your applications to the cloud at one go. Phased or big bang depends on your risk-taking ability, preparedness, and the speed at which you want to realize business value.
Co-existence strategy: Build a strong co-existing strategy, so that both the new and old systems can run simultaneously until the fully modernized applications and systems are rolled out.
Offline mode enablement: Plan a way for essential features to be available in a store even if the store gets disconnected due to network issues, internet outages, or some other failure.
Security and compliance: Ensure that the modernized pharmacy applications meet industry standards and comply with data privacy and other regulatory norms.
User experience and store rollout: User buy-in is critical to succeed in application modernization. So, create applications that are easy to use and intuitive. Also, roll out to stores in phases to minimize transition risks.
Integration: Design an interoperable system that integrates with external healthcare applications, such as electronic health records, federal drug database, allergic systems, and patient medical record systems.