The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in many areas – and within Community Pharmacy the members of our health service have showcased their commitment, selflessness and courage more than ever before.
The importance of the sector was recognised at the 2020 Scottish Pharmacy Awards on Wednesday 25th November. Whilst ideally we would have liked to pay tribute to the positive impact which the members of the sector have forged in person, in response to COVID‐19 guidelines this year’s Scottish Pharmacy Awards ceremony was held virtually.
At Cegedim Healthcare Solutions we were delighted to be involved in the awards again this year and proud to sponsor the Innovative Use of Technology in Community Pharmacy Award, which we were pleased to award to The Wellbeing Pharmacies Group on the night.
Kevin Murphy, Superintendent Pharmacist at Wellbeing Pharmacies commented, “We are delighted to be recognised by our peers for the innovative use of technology in the Scottish Pharmacy Awards.”
MedPoint 24/7 Prescription Collection Service
The Wellbeing Pharmacies Group has been working extremely hard on the development of the MedPoint 24/7 prescription collection concept for over two years – leading to the creation of a separate automation company trading as “MedPoint” with the support of Scottish Enterprise and InnovateUK. The British-made prescription collection points are located at a number of the Group’s pharmacies in England and Scotland and provide a safe, quick and secure way for patients to collect their repeat prescription or medicine orders, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Murphy explains, “Our aim is to improve patients’ access to medicines and help those that often struggle to get to a pharmacy within usual opening times.”
This became even more pressing in March, with the increased demands faced by community pharmacy, the restrictions of social distancing and the shift towards telemedicine. In specific response to the pandemic, including the challenges of social distancing and a growing patient reluctance to queue, the company created a freestanding temperature-controlled model – MedPoint SOLO - which can be installed on any flat area of ground such as a Health Centre car park.
He says “When the first wave of the pandemic struck this meant we were in a very good position to fast-track the installation of more MedPoints in some our branches that were experiencing huge additional workloads and issues with queues.“
Supporting Pharmacists and Patients
The process is straightforward for both pharmacists and patients. Feedback from patients has been excellent, with over 99% saying they would recommend the service to family and friends.
Murphy says, “We designed the service to be really easy to use. Our research has shown that all age groups are quite happy to use the collection point, with nearly 40% of users being over 60.”
The use of the Medpoints enabled the group’s pharmacies to support social distancing as well as reduce queues dramatically.
Murphy adds, “Making the process for patients more efficient has also helped free up vital time to help us support patients that need face-to-face care and deliver important NHS services such as Flu Jabs this winter. We also expect to play our part in the Covid19 vaccination programme. I firmly believe the NHS needs to use the latest technologies available to adapt to the new challenges that COVID-19 has presented.”
The three finalists in the category all evidenced some extremely original and pioneering use of technology in their respective pharmacies and we would extend our congratulations to all the finalists and winners at the awards. Cegedim are always championing innovation in community pharmacy and share the details of trailblazers, who are leading the way in the industry. If you want to know more about the innovation happening here at Cegedim take a look at what’s next for Pharmacy Manager.