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Will Online Pharmacies Replace the Instore Pharmacies Entirely?

Recent decades have seen numerous advancements in medical technology. However, the funding and traction for new healthcare tech have reached unprecedented heights in the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 and 2021. Usually, the pharmacies are impervious to change. But the recent advancements have challenged their status quo as well, just like all other health institutions. It is very much possible that online pharmacies may soon wholly replace in-store pharmacies.

Pharmacies were a clear cut business until a few years ago. Your doctor issued you a prescription, and you got it filled at the in-store pharmacy. But the tech revolution has challenged these traditional roles. These days, the shift in the medical industry is towards empowering the patients. In this new age, the part of a simple drug dispenser is just not enough.

Nowadays, high-profile online pharmacies, like Click Pharmacy, have much to offer. They have trained and certified pharmacists with an education comparable to physicians. These pharmacies provide access to a healthcare professional with more face to face time, even if it is via Zoom. They protect patient privacy, provide free online consultation, issue prescriptions, offer discounts, hand out meaningful drug information, and so much more.

The technological evolution of pharmacies is taking certain distinct paths. Online pharmacies pack a different look and play a different role. Even the NHS recognised the need for adaptation, improvement and better patient interaction back in January 2019. Following are the three paths online pharmacies are taking that ensure they will have a higher level of relevance in the future;

Online Availability of Medicine

Incorporating ecommerce into the pharmaceutical business is an incredible idea. The whole lockdown situation has given this business mode a tremendous boost in every niche, but none more than in the pharmaceutical industry. People can easily select their desired medications and have them delivered to their doorsteps in discreet packages.

The current twenty-first century model of life is very stress-induced and hasty. Everyone has things to do and places to be. People simply do not have the patience to stand in lines and wait for medicines. If they can get their desired products at the touch of a button, why would they not avail such practices?

Online pharmacies offer many health-related services. The best tools they can offer their patients are their websites. Patients may search for brands or commercial names they are looking for. Or, they can explore a pharmacy ecommerce platform for a medicine based on their symptoms or active ingredients. A website has detailed product descriptions, user guides, a list of alternatives and published articles about products. All these details are available in easy-to-use interfaces. This free availability of valuable information can yield many benefits for online pharmacies that in-store pharmacies are simply incapable of utilising.

Health Consultancies

With digital health advancements, pharmacies can change from simple drug vendors into genuine health consultancies. This client-centred approach is just not possible to properly provide in a brick and mortar pharmacy. Digital consultation has allowed online pharmacies to rise to a similar level as a primary care practice.

Telehealth allows direct communication between the patient and health provider from the remotest of the locations. As a result, patients can access speciality care, wear the latest medical gadgets that monitor their vitals, and have a meaningful one-on-one conversation with a specialist to their satisfaction.

While many private practitioners also offer such consultancies, pharmacies still have their own relevancy. Even now, many online pharmacies offer such consultation services with medical specialists free of cost. They can even observe a patient’s symptoms and issue a prescription online so that a doctor’s visit becomes irrelevant for minor health issues.

Qualified pharmacists are suited to this purpose because they actually have the luxury of the time they can dedicate to assuage a worrisome patient, which the harried doctors do not.

Patient Safety

Sometimes, avoidable errors in written prescriptions harm the patient. An incorrect drug, its dosage or form, omission of information, duplication of therapy, misinterpretation of the order are a few ways that can cause a risk. If such errors are timely identified, they may cause a delay in filling because of additional required communication between the pharmacist and the provider. However, if they are not detected, it may result in patient harm or even death.

Some smart e-prescription softwares are equipped with point-of-care decision-making algorithms. They notify the provider of the error before transmission. The software prompts the patient to verify allergies, identify drug interactions, and confirm dosage accuracy before dispatch. The software may have access to formulary decision support, insurance information and fill status notification as supplementary features. Thus, they may increase the possibility of a provider selecting commercially available drugs or their generic equivalents.

The Future of Pharmacies

More than 30,000 online pharmacists provide their services to protect public health all over the world. Unless something major happens that completely shatters the current way of life on Earth, the online business models will continue to gain ground in the future. Online pharmacies may yet render in-store pharmacies redundant.

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