Health Technologies

Community Pharmacies Tap Digital Technologies to Improve Patient Access

Community Pharmacies Rely on Automated Workflows and AI-Enabled Personalization

“When you think about the medically underserved in rural areas, pharmacies are likely the only convenient access to care,” says Jason Ausili, head of pharmacy transformation at EnlivenHealth. “Expanding services that pharmacies provide can include things like point-of-care and test-to-treat initiatives for flu, strep or other communicable diseases.”

He says cloud-based technology enables automation in healthcare workflows, which results in a more consistent and efficient process for both the patient and the pharmacy, from scheduling and documentation to billing.

“When you have automation and scheduling, it results in a more personalized patient experience by leveraging AI and chat functionality to pave the path for more efficient navigation of this experience, empowering the patient and gathering the right information upfront,” Ausili says.

Siddharth Tenneti, vice president of pharmacy growth and insights for CVS, agrees that the pharmacy of the future offers a differentiated, omnichannel, personalized experience.

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“We want our digital tools to enhance patients’ experiences, whether at the pharmacy or online,” he explains. “When we do this right, we can help ensure our patients have more meaningful and trusted pharmacist interactions when, how and where they want.”

He adds that digital tools can also help free up time and capacity for pharmacy teams to deliver clinical patient care when it matters most.

One digital solution is Spoken Rx, which allows patients with visual impairments to hear critical prescription information spoken aloud via radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology.

Enrolled patients can use Spoken Rx through the CVS Pharmacy app. Patients hold their prescription bottles or packages within 4 inches of their smartphones to hear prescription information in English or Spanish.

Telepharmacy, where allowed by state law, is also a method CVS is exploring to ensure patients have convenient access to pharmacy care in areas where it is scarce.

“It allows us to leverage our scale and use new digital technologies while enabling a staffing model that ensures our local footprint remains open for business and best serves our patients where they need us,” Tenneti says.

READ MORE: What are medical deserts, and how can technology alleviate them?

The company’s licensed pharmacists perform remotely the same tasks they would in-store, including verifying prescriptions, conducting safety checks and performing patient consultations, while state-licensed, board-certified pharmacy technicians operate the physical pharmacy.

“This ensures and increases patients’ access to local, convenient pharmacy care and allows us to maintain hours of operation where it would otherwise not be feasible,” he says.



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