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Pharmacy’s digital transformation spotlighted in new FIP report

Digital advancements have the potential to revolutionise hospital pharmacy by streamlining processes, improving medication safety and enhancing patient care, a new report from the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has concluded.

Based on discussions at an event led by the FIP Technology Advisory Group in February, the report considers the progress achieved, maintained and accelerated in the digitalisation of both hospital and community pharmacy since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report highlights real-world data, virtual reality, intelligent systems, personalised medicines and connectivity as key areas in which hospital pharmacy can really benefit. As this ‘technology continues to evolve, its impact on hospital pharmacy will only grow, paving the way for a more efficient and effective healthcare system’, the report adds.

What’s more, the report highlights the disruptive nature of technology in community pharmacy settings during the Covid-19 pandemic. It gives such examples as new or expanded vaccination services and appointment scheduling, apps for click-and-collect ordering and electronic prescribing. The potential opportunities and challenges for further digital development are also outlined, with particular emphasis on the complexity of data collection, optimisation and transfer.

A digital educational foundation

There is a risk, the report states, that the rate of technology innovation and its complexity could outpace healthcare providers’ ability to implement and adopt it. One of its proposed ways of tackling this is to focus on incorporating digital health into pharmacy education. This will ensure future generations of pharmacists have the ‘technology readiness, open mindedness and adaptability’ required.

‘Digital health is rapidly evolving and promises to transform how healthcare is delivered and consumed. It is important to explore advances at the intersection of health and technology and how pharmacy can embrace emerging modalities in the digital health ecosystem,’ said group chairs Lars-Åke Söderlund and Jaime Acosta. ‘It is also important to share perspectives for leveraging digital health tools to improve patient care and for all of us to gain a deeper understanding of them.’

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