Emerging healthcare trends are taking pharmacies by storm

Advancements in technology have brought about rapid changes in the healthcare industry, especially for pharmacists and pharmacy owners.

Like other industries before it, healthcare has embraced technology and the resulting trends. Many of these trends combine elements of our digital and physical worlds, creating highly personalized and relevant experiences for individual consumers. The interaction between the digital and physical world is more important in healthcare than perhaps in any other industry, given the importance of effective coordination for a seamless patient experience.

These changes represent a fourth industrial revolution, a term coined in 2016 by economist Klaus Schwab, professor and founder of the World Economic Forum. This industrial revolution is digital, characterized “by a fusion of technologies that [are] blurring the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological spheres.1

“Technology is forcing rapid change,” said Debbie Weitzman, president of pharmaceutical distribution and Medicine Shoppe International at Cardinal Health. “Consumerism and personalization are happening in pharmacies and digital technology is going to be critical to the success of an independent pharmacy.”

Adopt the Metaverse

For example, the adoption of the metaverse has enabled pharmacists to provide care to their patients, wherever they are. In its current state, virtual reality, for which technological capabilities already exist, may be too expensive for practical application in pharmacy. However, as it gains popularity in other specialties, costs should come down.

The practical applications of virtual reality in pharmacy may be a few years away, but the opportunities for omnichannel engagement are already here to stay. Research shows that 75% of consumers engage in omnichannel activity; it is up to pharmacists and pharmacy owners to keep in mind that the goal of omnichannel engagement is to provide patients with options that are right for them in the moment.2 Orchestrating these different options, experiences, and touchpoints can help patients access better, faster, and more convenient care.

“Patients apply the same high expectations that exist in other industries to their healthcare needs,” Weitzman said. “There’s not much consumers can’t do online if they want to, and they’re looking for the same level of choice in their pharmacies.”

As pharmacists embrace available technology, Cardinal Health stands ready to help our customers meet patient expectations and needs. Online ordering through Pharmacy Marketing Advantage PLUS, Cardinal Health’s new enhanced solutions offering, allows patients to easily order prescription medications and over-the-counter products from the comfort of their own home. Pharmacies can also enhance their online shopping capabilities by offering thousands of over-the-counter products that patients can order from their smartphone, tablet or computer.

Older patients are also embracing this wave of technological innovation in healthcare spaces. A recent Nielsen study found that 34% of seniors use social media3 to make purchases and over 50% of baby boomers plan to use telehealth services in the future, proving the high rate of digital adoption at all ages.4

Supporting aging in place

A noted trend amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic is the increase in the number of seniors and elderly patients choosing to age in place.5 This choice has created a new avenue for independent retail pharmacies to take ownership of the patient relationship with unparalleled service. Since pharmacists see these patients more than any other provider on their care team, there are many opportunities to provide support to caregivers and patients.

Take, for example, Cardinal Health™ NavixRx™ Compliance Packaging: This solution integrates seamlessly with the pharmacy management system and entrusts a dedicated team of pharmacists with the fulfillment and packaging of prescriptions, the completion of verification and confirmation of the contents of the package. For older patients who may be on multiple medications, removing this burden gives pharmacists the time they need to provide more focused patient care.

Better deals for better care

Aside from patient-centric trends, new technologies can help pharmacy owners run their business more efficiently and profitably. Cardinal Health recently integrated its Reimbursement Consulting Services solution into its Outcomes platform, creating a complete and unified clinical workflow for pharmacists nationwide. The Outcomes platform now offers pharmacists the ability to engage in medication therapy management, comprehensive medication reviews, and targeted intervention programs, while providing patients with care that supports desired health outcomes.

“The future is here, and we’re just beginning to see all the possibilities for independent pharmacy,” Weitzman added. “Consumer expectations today are for more advanced technology, patient care services, and improved efficiency in the pharmacy.”

References

  1. Schwab K. The fourth industrial revolution: what it means, how to react. World Economic Forum. Published January 14, 2016. Accessed July 14, 2022. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-what-it-means-and-how-to-respond/
  2. Alldredge K, Charm T, Falardeau E, Robinson K. How American Consumers Feel, Buy, and Spend, and What This Means for Business. McKinsey & Company. Published May 4, 2022. Accessed July 14, 2022. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/how-us-consumers-are-feeling-shopping- and-spending-and-what-it-means-for-businesses
  3. Phillips L. Telehealth Trends in the United States 2022. Insider Intelligence. Published January 10, 2022. Accessed July 14, 2022. https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-telehealth-trends-2022
  4. Share of social media users in the United States using this channel to make purchases in 2021, by age group. Statistical. Published July 2021. Accessed July 14, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1254678/share-social-buyers-united-states-age-group/
  5. Moneypenny A. 4 key aging-in-place trends fueled by COVID-19. Published October 4, 2021. Accessed July 14, 2022. https://www.homecaremag.com/october-2021/4-key-aging-in-place-trends-fueld-covid19

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