On Monday 24th we officially launched our partnership with The Landing. From the very beginning we looked at how we could utilise technology to not just enhance how we operate as a network but also how we can use it to enhance the way the profession works so this partnership for us is perfect as the Landing is all about supporting tech startups that want to make our lives easier and improve the way we do things. The event was sponsored by Barclays Eagle Labs. They run an amazing lab where you can carry out rapid prototyping of your product and they work closely with Salford Royal to help develop some amazing health-tech products, some of these including 3D printing trachea and the heart.
We started by discussing our humble beginnings as a small Whatsapp group back in the summer of 2016, our mission to support and unite the profession and work with both pharmacists and businesses to improve working conditions. We then went on to discuss the 4th industrial revolution and how the profession will react to AI and robotics. AI is currently a hot topic and it is being used to improve many aspects of technology and how we live, work, drive and learn. Robot powered by AI that can learn like us will revolutionise many things including our pharmacies, the way we interact with our patients and how we advise our patients about drug interactions.
With a lot of bricks and mortar community pharmacies under threat from ‘Amazonisation’, we wanted to see if we could shake things up and help pharmacies increase their uptake of dispensing robots by developing them at a much lower cost than what is currently available. With that in mind, we are working on a dispensing robot hackathon! The idea is we bring together pharmacists, coders and robotics experts and see how cheap we can make a professional-grade dispensing robot that can run a full dispensary without any human intervention. We will have more details on this exciting hackathon soon! By developing low-cost robot dispenser that can run a full dispensary we can let pharmacists spend more time talking to patients and carry out the services that earn businesses better income.
AI is not the only thing that will change the way we work. Pharmacogenomics will usher in a new era of personalised medicine. In some countries such as Latvia, people have DNA cards which are used when prescribing to ensure the drug and dosage is tailored to them. For example, patients who are fast metabolizers of es/citalopram due to the presence of CYP2C19 will need a higher dose or an alternative as the standard dosage will not work whilst the slow metabolisers will have greater side effect at standard dosage. How often are patients tested for this? Another common one is HLA-B*15:02 which is strongly associated with increased risk of Steven Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis.
The pharmacy market is ready for disruption! With so many cuts in funding, we need to innovate to survive. A service focused contract will further cut profit from dispensing so we need to find innovative ways to become lean and create new services that will bring in more profit. In USA Uber is working with retail pharmacies to take patients to hospital and bring them to their pharmacy thus locking in patients. Can we continue to deliver to patients by working with third party companies?
So on to our own innovation now and let’s talk a bit more about the next version of Bloksphere app and UK’s first ever Pharmacy feedback site, Pharmacy Revu! The next version of Bloksphere will bring some amazing changes to the app. A lot of hard work has gone into making it more user-friendly and more about how you use the app as a social network. You can see from the video below some of these new features. Once the beta testing has completed we will move everyone over from Telegram to the new app and as you will need to register with GPhC number it’ll only be open to pharmacists. There will be changes to the way the clinical support group works. You will be able to open a ‘case’ and upload an image. Once a case is opened everyone will be alerted and people will be able to respond to the question. These cases will all remain in one section so they can be searched and will be kept as a reference so if someone else has a similar question they can find the answers very easily. The Pharmacy Revu will be integrated into the app so that feedback can be given more easily and responses can be seen more clearly. We have just under 500 feedbacks, vast majority from community locums, and this has given a great insight into the market which locums can use when negotiating a shift or deciding whether to work for a certain company or at a certain branch. Currently, the graphs are not very mobile friendly and need to be seen on a laptop or desktop to get the best view. This will be resolved. You will also be able to search for a specific branch by NHS code or branch address with dispensing volume data from the NHS.
Last but not least, we have now opened up membership to The Pharmacist Cooperative! After a year of getting things ready, setting up more groups to support a greater proportion of the profession, partnering with The Landing and moving into our head office we feel its time to start accepting members so we can work together to decide what the organization should focus on and how we should do it. So, as an introductory offer, it will only cost £1 for the first year to join The Pharmacist Cooperative if you register and pay by the end of July. Thereafter it will cost £20 a year to join and as a member, you will get great discounts on services such as flu jab training, enhanced DBS, support with health-tech startup and many other services we are currently working on to benefit you in your career. As always you will have the full network access to our social network and also some premium features on Bloksphere app.
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