Ali Sparkes, Director of Happiness & Technology at The Health Dispensary

Technology has proven to be very helpful in managing pharmacy operations during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, said Ali Sparkes owner and director of Happiness & Technology at The Health Dispensary in South Wales.

“When Covid hit that really sharpened the senses. And I guess, we are in reasonably fortunate position as the things that we have done over the years certainly made Covid a bit more manageable,” she said, in an interview segment during the second session of the 6th annual Pharmacy Business Conference held online on Thursday, September 23.

The interview was conducted by chair of Pharmacy Business Conference Michael Holden.

Talking about technology, Sparkes said the pharmacy uses computers installed with Patient Medication Record (PMR) system along with a separate range of computers for business administration.

It also has a channel robot installed in 2009, which functions like a vending machine, popping out the medicine or product as soon as the computer triggers an order.

Besides, The Health Dispensary offers a 24*7 prescription collection point.

Explaining about the service she said: “We collect prescription from your GP surgery, send you a text when it is ready and you can collect from the machine 24 hours a day.

“The whole environment has been built to fit for flexibility so that we can change everything, change the way of work. The initial surge in the Covid had hassled, however, the flexibility helped us out.”

Having all these systems in place and a proper communication channel helped the pharmacy in serving patients and conducting operations during the Covid, Sparkes said.

On customers’ response she said the pandemic had reduced connection with them, but the pharmacy received overwhelming appreciation and warmth through social media channels.

She said: “Our customers appreciate the technology. I think they appreciate that technology has enabled us to continue that relationship (during Covid).”

Use of technology “saved us a lot of time as well as (ensured) good customer experience.”

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