Keeping up with Technological Trends in Pharmacy

Although a pharmacist’s job may seem simple, the work itself can be too dragging for the Pharmacy Technician himself. Because of this, technology has become an effective tool that pharmacists can rely on with regards to making their work less tedious. Not only that, it also makes their job more effective and efficient.

In the past, the pharmacist’s tasks were all done manually. And due to the monotonous nature of the job, it has become a cross to bear for pharmacists to do these repetitive tasks over and over again, every day. It has also made every task more prone to human errors. But thanks to technological advancements, pharmacists today enjoy automated information processing.

Because of this, routine tasks are done more accurately and with greater consistency, terminologies and nomenclatures relating to the job are standardized, and services are provided to a larger population.

Information technology has also been essential in the industry, because it enabled pharmacists to provide higher quality services, in addition to refining patient and customer safety. Specifically, this is because information technology has enabled more effective storage of structured patient records, automation of the handling of pharmaceutical products in the source chain, facilitation of the electronic prescribing and dispensing of medicines, and provision of tools for checking the effectiveness and safety of various medicines. Also because of this, it has almost become a standard for every pharmaceutical establishment to adopt IT systems to support its operation.

Overall, technological evolution has completely revolutionized the Pharma Industry across the world. From the simple tasks like labeling medicines up to the more complicated ones such as monitoring the demand and supply of pharmaceutical products, various technological applications has made the daily jobs of pharmacists easier. And because of certain limitations like budget, it is convenient for pharmacists and business owners that they can choose what technological supplements they want to add to their practice. Some of the most common and most useful ones are discussed below.

Internet

This is the most basic and universal technological advancement in pharmacy. Because of the internet, it has become easier for pharmacists to communicate with clients. Information about various medicines can be displayed for easier and faster understanding. Changes and other important pharmaceutical news can also be quickly disseminated. The internet is also the foundation wherein online pharmacies are established, giving rise to online purchasing of medicines. Moreover, web platforms serve as the avenue by which pharmacists and other health care establishments like hospitals connect with each other. Because of this essential information about a patient can be easily and accurately conveyed.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This also plays a role in the development of the pharmaceutical industry. Essentially, AI mimics the actions and thinking of humans, but it does so in a faster, more accurate, and more consistent manner. Specifically, AI provides progress in terms of drug development and drug production. Nowadays, artificial intelligence supports pharmacists and researchers regarding different decision-making processes and expansion of treatments for other conditions. It also speeds up drug trials by locating the right patients from the available data sources. Additionally, developers are also tapping into AI to manufacture “3D-printed drugs.” The AI machines are programmed to produce drugs that are in more effective dose and concentration formats. This allows low-volume making of personalized medicines for patients with special pharmaceutical needs.

Electronic Prescribing and Discharge

This is another technological advancement that is of great importance to pharmacists. This is designed to take the place of the traditional paper prescription. With this, prescription, supplication, and administration of medicines can be automated using computer-based systems.

By doing so, the flow of prescription filling process from the physician, to the pharmacist, up to the consumer will be streamlined. This also allows the operation of internet and mail-order pharmacies. Electronic prescribing and discharge also eliminates the errors in prescription reading which is often associated with traditional, handwritten prescriptions. Moreover, health care providers, pharmacists, and patients will be connected together due to generation of electronic medical records.

Mobile Apps

Pharmacists nowadays use mobile technology to communicate with patients. Text alerts are often sent to clients to inform them of availability of their medications. It is also used to remind them if their prescriptions need refilling. And because of digital records, mobile apps also enable the generation of comprehensive medication report when necessary. As for patients with complex medication regimen, mobile apps can greatly help in terms of reminding them when to take a certain medicine, or when it will expire.

The Cloud

With regards to business agility in the pharmacy sector, the cloud greatly helped in the integration of different facilities or offices. This makes standardization of information across different sites possible. Collaboration between these is also streamlined because information flow becomes more rapid and efficient. Moreover, cloud has also made it possible for a pharmaceutical institution to partner with other healthcare partners like research laboratories, hospitals, and academic organizations. Additionally, research and development divisions in Pharma Industry also take advantage of this technology through cloud computing.  Through the shared collection of configurable computing resources, the cost and length of developing and creating new drugs are greatly reduced.

Barcode Medication

With this technology, pharmacists are able to dispense medication more rapidly. Errors in handing out drugs are also eliminated because patients are accurately matched to the prescribed medicine. In just a few seconds after scanning the barcode, the patient’s information, as well as the specific medicine for dispensing, its right dosage, and right timing of administration can be known. And because certain laws set the standard for code packaging of drugs, the medication labeler and packager can also be traced by simply looking at the bar code digits.

Coyne College Pharmacy Technician Program Overview

Male and Female Students taking a Pharmacy Technician Class

Students during a Pharmacy Technician class at Coyne College

Coyne College offers Pharma Technician Program for those who want to be involved in the industry. This institution offers comprehensive studies regarding what it takes to be a good pharmacy technician. Moreover, its externship program also enables students to get hands-on experience to make their education holistic. Additionally, as a college founded in a city that is also a hub for medicine, it has developed experience and expertise that can transform students to professionals. And unlike other trade schools, students can finish the tech program in just 42 weeks

The Takeway

Overall, technological advances in the pharmacy industry are only meant to make processes more efficient and accurate. It is not meant to replace the pharmacists and professionals themselves. The expertise and judgment of humans will not be replaced by any machinery for the meantime. But in the future, more technological innovations can be seen to come as the demand for better health care services continue to grow. Because of this, it is also seen that professionals in the industry must be able to adapt. This means not only sticking to the traditional methods, but also being open to exploring developments in which they can contribute better to patients and clients.

Also check out our Becoming a Pharmacy Technician resource page for further information, data and state requirements.

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