Pharmacy in your pocket

Social media conversations often indicate that many people have a rather outdated view of pharmacies. For example, few people know that pharmacies are among the leaders of digitalisation in the service industry.

Already about 95% of prescriptions are electronic, and next year practically all prescriptions will be electronic. The order processes and conducting business with medicine suppliers have become electronic many years ago.

Pharmacies of today can use the Kela servers to see in real time what medical compensations customers are entitled to and whether their annual initial excess is already full.

About 150 pharmacies are using a storage robot that transfers delivered medicine packages to the storage, keeps the storage in order and delivers the customer’s medicine to the prescription submission desk.

Virtual shelves are already being tested, as well. They replace the traditional pharmacy shelf with a large digital screen that is connected to the storage robot.

Medicine information has been digitalised practically completely, and pharmacy software programs utilise it in many ways to ensure medication safety. For example, if the customer purchases a medicine that has a known adverse combination effect with a previously purchased medicine, the program will provide a warning about it.

More than a hundred pharmacies already have their own online pharmacies, and some of them can also be used to purchase prescription drugs with an electronic prescription. The Association of Finnish Pharmacies has produced the eAPTEEKKI online service platform for its member pharmacies, enabling even small pharmacies to provide services online.

The Association of Finnish Pharmacies has also started preparing its own industry digitalisation strategy. This work evaluates how digitalisation changes the industry and how it could be utilised even more in the future.

As with other industries, pharmacy services are quickly becoming mobile. Soon everyone will have a pharmacy in their pocket. Time will tell what services for mobile devices pharmacies will provide in the future.

Not everything will be changed by digitalisation, however. Medicines cannot be turned into bits and transferred online. Digital solutions also cannot replace the interaction with a pharmacy professional in a physical setting, which many customers find important. Committing customers to treatment is also most reliable when carried out face to face.