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Techno-Pharm: How Innovations Are Changing Pharmacy

Techno-Pharm: How Innovations Are Changing Pharmacy

(Source: Creative Commons)

By Jennifer LeClaire | Monster Contributing Writer

“Studies have shown that 11 percent of medication errors occur when the pharmacy dispenses a medication,” says Ward. “That won’t happen with this system. The bar code scanning prevents the human error that can occur when the medications are manually picked out of bins.”

E-Scripts Speed Filling

Paperless prescriptions are also making their mark on the industry. Giant Food and Pharmacy, among others, has adopted technology that allows doctors to “call in” prescriptions in less than 30 seconds using an Internet connection, handheld PC or cell phone.

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US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has supported paperless systems as an effective way to reduce deaths from medical mistakes, cut stress for overworked pharmacists and save money on healthcare costs.

Russell Fair, RPh, vice president of pharmacy operations for Giant Food, agrees. “More than 30 percent of a pharmacist’s workday is spent on the phone receiving and clarifying prescriptions,” says Fair. “By 2005, retail pharmacists are expected to fill 4 billion prescriptions.”

Fair chose a service from OnCallData Inc. for the chain’s 154 stores and says pharmacists now spend more time counseling patients instead of answering questions over the phone and processing prescriptions.

Applauding Patient Databases

Finally, patient databases allow druggists to capture, store, analyze and archive information in compliance with HIPAA security requirements. Pharmacists are applauding information technology networks that make it easier to deal with traveling patients.

“These networks can not only capture information at the point of care, but also permit geographically dispersed medical staff, pharmacists and others controlled anytime, anywhere access to the appropriate patient information,” says Ben Parker, manager, Sprint Service Innovation and Evaluation Lab. “This permits pharmacists to focus on dispensing medication, conferring with caregivers and patients, as well as managing their own businesses in a more effective, cost-efficient manner.”

Experts say IT will continue to change pharmacy. Other areas of focus include supply-chain programs, such as drug-return management systems.

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.

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