The expectation of seamless digital experiences has quickly become the norm across almost every domain of our society. However, unlike healthcare at large, workflows and procedures in pharmacies have changed very little over the last 300 years.
Hugely important processes, like issuing and collecting prescriptions, have (until very recently) been left untouched by digital innovation and technology.
The patient experience typically becomes fragmented and offline during the critical stage of prescribing and pharmacy, where one often sees a reversion to traditional, manual paper processes. These present a significant administrative burden, especially when a wet signature is still required on all paper prescriptions – and have meant that a true end-to-end digital health experience has remained elusive.
Patients often have to travel long distances in order to collect their prescriptions and medication, and clinicians become bogged down in paperwork. Critically, continued dependence on outdated prescribing practices results in a disconnect between the patient and the healthcare provider, coupled with delays, lost data, and significant inefficiencies.
Digital prescribing: a solution fit for the future
Digital prescribing was first rolled out in the NHS in 2013 and has proven to be both time and cost-effective, reducing the amount of paper processing required by GPs and pharmacists. It has, to date:
- Saved the NHS an estimated £300 million between 2018-2021.
- Saved GPs an average of 2 hours 33 minutes a day signing and producing electronic prescriptions versus paper ones1
- Reduced time spent collecting and dispensing prescriptions by 1 hour 37 minutes for pharmacists1
However: despite success in the NHS, no universal digital prescribing system existed for private healthcare providers and telemedicine companies due, in part, to the existing legal framework for prescribing, which has presented challenges for digital solutions.
At Phlo Connect, we are focused on delivering the benefits of digital prescribing and digital signing to healthcare teams and patients in the private sector.
This motivated the development of a signing tool fit for the future of medication dispensation and joined-up digital-first healthcare. Our new Advanced Digital Signing solution integrates easily with existing clinical systems and prescribing workflows, helping private healthcare providers digitise and streamline their pharmacy offerings. Ultimately, this gives patients wider, higher-quality choices for their healthcare needs.
Prescribing with Phlo Connect means that – for the first time in the private sector – prescribers will be able to easily offer digital prescriptions to patients and pharmacies, without the need for a hard copy, paper documentation, or a wet signature. Our solution allows clinicians to generate and ‘sign’ a digital prescription, and then send this to the Phlo digital pharmacy, which can deliver the medication to the patient’s door in a timeframe that suits them. This ultimately enables a trackable, digital prescribing journey from the point of prescription to delivery.
Time and effort are saved for prescribers, safety is improved, and patients get the medication they need without unnecessary delay: everyone benefits. Pharmacy and prescribing are one step closer to completing the modern makeover that the sector so urgently needs.
Editor’s Note: Nadeem Sarwar is the founder and CEO of Phlo Connect, the UK’s first and only on-demand digital pharmacy that offers real-time, secure prescription delivery across the UK, managing the logistics, pharmacy and technology to make it easier and more convenient for patients.