Shift towards digital channels in pharmacy

The 2022 CommBank Pharmacy Insights Report reveals confidence among community pharmacies is at a 10-year high, up 12.7 points from 126.8 in 2020 to 139.5 in 2021.

The report reveals most pharmacists are positive about the short and medium term and confident about switching to digital technologies, including e-Prescriptions.

Pharmacies are confident about shifting towards e-Prescriptions as an alternative to paper-based versions, as patients increasingly expect digital services to manage their medicines and repeats.

“Digitisation creates tremendous opportunities to better connect the patient journey,” says Albert Naffah, CEO of CommBank Health.

“Greater awareness of and access to e-Prescriptions is a key enabler of this.”

Mr Naffah says that while paper and fax-based scrip options remain, “most pharmacists are positioning for a continued uptake in e-Prescriptions”.

The continued rise of e-Prescriptions and usage of the Active Script List is beneficial for driving further efficiencies between providers and for enhancing the patient experience.

Other confidence drives in pharmacy, according to Mr Albert Naffah, as highlighted in the report include:

  • Expansion of professional services;
  • Creation of new revenue streams;
  • Better buying powers;
  • Population growth;
  • Changes in business models.

Additionally, almost half of decision-makers expect the value of community pharmacies to grow in the coming year, up from 37.1% in 2020.

Pharmacists’ three-year business forecasts are also confident with 57.1% expecting an increase in value, which has driven innovation in operations and service offerings according to Mr Naffah.

Mr Naffah says the shift towards digital channels is on the rise with home delivery, click and collect and mobile apps featuring as the top three sales channels pharmacists intend to introduce in the next 12 months.

“Pharmacies have adapted well to the digitisation of products, services and operations including opening up new online sales channels and improving the omnichannel patient experience,” says Mr Naffah.

Community pharmacies are now looking towards the next phase of digital opportunities and strengthening their protections against cyber risks.

Around 44% of pharmacists say they feel moderately or fully prepared to manage the risk of a cybersecurity incident.

“As community pharmacists leverage the benefits of digital technology, they are also being careful to deploy optimum security systems to safely protect their patient’s data privacy and guard against the threat of cybersecurity incidents,” says Mr Naffah.

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