Changes and challenges and how these will shape the future of pharmacy.

We have seen big disruptions in the way in which our health facilities work. New technologies and innovations in life sciences present new challenges.  People are becoming more interested in health and wellbeing and are wanting better access to health care facilities that are more convenient and products that are more customized.  This new environment will likely prove to be beneficial for pharmacists, like those players taking advantage of an Intertops poker bonus today. It may well create exciting opportunities for the future for them.

The pharmacy’s role is changing, as is the role of the pharmacist. With the introduction of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and virtual health we are seeing a huge push for change.  As these new technologies make for clinical advancements this will impact the role of the pharmacy and the way in which pharmacists fit into this new expanded care system.

Technology and life sciences are changing pharmacy 

Hugh changes are happening in the health car chain and these are going to cause great changes in the future of pharmacy and how we know it.  Technology is steaming ahead and we are seeing huge clinical breakthroughs with the introduction of artificial intelligence and robotics. Also, the understanding gained from the integration of health data about people.  This allows for more “precision treatments” and will alter the way in which treatment is delivered and the role of the pharmacist.  This may cause a major shift in the way the present health care system works from a fee-for-service compensation system to more of a value- based model which would be more aligned to pharmacy.

We are seeing innovations across all of the life sciences:

  • Smart mirrors, using highly improved cameras, are being developed to monitor a person’s breath and to pick up any health variations.
  • Much work is being done on creating care bots, that will be able to carry out basic services, like reminding people to take their medications. In Japan they have begun using exoskeletons as a way of helping people continue doing manual labor for longer.
  • Smartphones are becoming highly advanced in that they are able to act as a “home health diagnostic tools”, and are able to detect health changes and conditions like diabetic eye disorder or urinary tract infections.
  • Researchers have developed an origami robot which is released after swallowing a capsule and is then able to patch internal wounds, amongst other things.
  • Gut microbiome is being used by companies to develop a “food- as- medicine” line as a way to control glucose levels and to enhance overall wellbeing.

All these changes and the growing interest of the public in all matters concerned with wellbeing and health, will radically alter the future of pharmacy.  These changes are causing those in charge of pharmacies and pharmacists to think about new ways of developing themselves for the future and that will make them more competitive in the market place.

Technological innovation causes changes and these are happening faster than ever

A lot of pharmacies work on a legacy business model and have yet to go digital. They need to change their model to one that embraces the new technologies and innovations concerned with customer service.

Pharmacists working in retail situations today are very well trained, and considered to be skilled and trusted medical professionals.  Unfortunately, many of them spend vast amounts of their time sorting pills and dealing with clinical edits instead of utilizing their skills providing counseling and real-time patient testing.  This will impact their ability to influence patient outcomes and also has an effect on safety and the level of cost effectiveness.

On top of all this, the legacy pools are being challenged by regulators in all areas of the supply chain.  This affects manufacturers and distributers, pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers.

The incredible pace of innovation today is bound to cause quite a lot of disruption in the industry.  Tomorrow’s pharmacy industry is going to look very different from the way we see it today.   Below are just some of the changes we are likely to see in the pharmacies of the future.

  • The future treatments are likely to focus on digital therapeutics, implants, nutraceuticals, gene editing and accelerated clinically-researched programmable bacteria.  Chemical and biological solutions will no longer be the focus of treatments.
  • Retail pharmacies could well become established health care destinations. They could offer services and products that have been transformed by 3D printing, telehealth, health booths, and immediate delivery by autonomous vehicles, care bots and drones.
  • Pharmacists’ responsibilities could be enhanced by automation and AI algorithms. They would then be recognized as full-fledged care providers allowing them to prescribe critical medications and be in charge of handing chronic illnesses and diseases.
  • The introduction of immense information sets connected by the Internet of Things(IoT) linked devices and cloud- based algorithms, plus quantum computing will make possible real-time diagnosis and information that will be integrated into our regular daily lives and can be distributed to other care providers.

Much of the above is likely to materialize but just how quickly will we see this actually happening?  How quickly this occurs really depends on a number of things.  How the environment is regulated, how quickly consumers embrace these technologies, how competitors invest and where, and how profitable these new innovations will be if brought onto the market.

What will be the consumer’s experience in the future? 

In order to fully comprehend the vision of the future of pharmacy, it is necessary to start with the consumer. How will their health care journey change?  The more technology becomes ever more present and integrated into our lives, the position of the pharmacy and of the pharmacist will change into something that we would not be able to recognize today.  The vision is one where a meeting of health and wellness takes place and at the same time there is an increase in telehealth and virtual health care.

It is very likely that the retail pharmacy that we have come to know will no longer be. However, there will still be a need for locally delivered, coordinated, and skilled health care.   There will likely be more competition between the difference health care workers for roles such as RPhs, RNs, NPs, Pas, and MDs.   There may well also be those that are not interested, willing or able to embrace digital health technology, and require in-person care, even if the cost drops significantly.

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