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Survey Finds That Slow Tech Adoption Is Impacting Pharmacy Services

A new survey has found that 87% of pharmacists believe the profession has been slow in its adoption of new technology when compared to other sectors1. The survey, commissioned by Omnicell UK, also revealed an over-riding consensus that automation within pharmacy could improve both patient and care home services. 80% of pharmacists believe that automation can improve patient services and 72% of pharmacists believe it can improve services for care homes. In fact, nearly three-quarters (73%) of those polled believe that there should be an increased focus on the use of technology and automation on the pharmacy agenda.

Underpinning the results is a worrying belief by 93% of those interviewed, that funding cuts are the most significant threat to the immediate future of community pharmacy. This was followed by additional concerns on changing regulations like FMD, Brexit and recruitment issues.

The survey results have been released as part of a new campaign by Omnicell UK to raise awareness of the importance on the use of technology to improve patient safety and support pharmacies in a challenging marketplace. The campaign ‘We are Automation’ demonstrates how technical solutions can help to free up staff time. This reduces administrative and manual tasks enabling staff to spend more time on face to face patient care and new revenue streams.

Unsurprisingly, the survey also found that work pressures and stress are key areas of concern for the profession. The vast majority of pharmacists (90%) believe that these are caused by Government funding cuts and over three-quarters (76%) believe that the scale of the patient/staff ratios is a key contributing factor with too few staff dealing with an increasingly high volume of patients.

With increased pressures and time-constraints on pharmacies, the survey goes on to explore the importance of additional revenue streams for pharmacy businesses. 88% of those interviewed believe that introducing technology to support the business could help pharmacists to explore additional patient services and new revenues – with 66% believing that it would enable them to pursue care home pharmacy contracts.
Every year, an estimated third of the 47m medication errors2 within primary care occur in the dispensing process.

Pharmacists questioned believe that automation provided them with additional confidence in:
– Patient safety (77%)
– Providing patients with increased face to face time (75%)
– Stock re-ordering (72%)
– Managing complex patient medication regimes (57%)

Paul O’Hanlon, Managing Director of Omnicell UK & Ireland adds; “Technology plays a pivotal role in reducing medication errors and improving patient safety. Whilst the sector has been slow when compared to other industries in harnessing new technology solutions and recognising the benefits – it’s heartening to see that looking to the future there could be an increased focus on the issue, helping community pharmacies to survive in an ever-challenging market.”

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1. Results based on survey of pharmacy professionals by Omnicell (April/May 2019)



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