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The change in the universe of pharmacies forces a new digital approach

The pharmacy as a wellness center It is expected that, in the coming years, the pharmacy will gain strategic importance in health services, evolving from its traditional role of dispensing medicines to become a true wellness center. The pharmacist is expected to become a reference in health, a specialized advisor who guides the patient in the course of treatment and search for well-being, with greater means of prescription and care-taking care of the rules and codes of ethics, to safeguard privacy. and the correct service. This change will require continuous training and the reinvention of the pharmacist’s role, not only with products and medicines, but also with the patient himself, as well as new forms of contact, care and follow-up with the patient. In the case of Spain, the future goes through a care model. Nutritional advice, personalized dosage systems and pharmacotherapeutic follow-up are the most common services in Spanish pharmacies. They have also developed services in areas such as cosmetics, nutrition and getting people to quit smoking, along with specialties such as orthopedics and podiatry.

The new client and patient

Digitally empowered consumers are taking greater control of their health and demanding more personalization, transparency, and convenience in all aspects, including healthcare services. The real consumer is getting to the point of even rewarding or punishing brands based on an experience. Although this trend is much more noticeable in liberalized markets, and ethical considerations are key, the pharmacy can learn from FMCG in its new ways of connecting with the user and taking care of the customer journey, to be a pioneer in services and develop strategies that attract traffic. to the drugstore and encourage a long-term relationship. The definition of the patient experience map, in our case, is a fundamental practice to understand and anticipate the needs of the client on how she passes through the different points of contact with the brand or establishment. Those movements where the new consumer makes purchase decisions, breaking with the traditional linear model of awareness, interest, desire, action.

The Pharmacy Patient Experience Map

If the future of the pharmacy is its evolution towards a wellness center, digital technologies offer tools to meet and accompany the most conscientious and demanding consumer, keeping them company throughout the treatment period, as well as in the search for a lifestyle healthier. The challenge for the pharmacy will be to have an integrated database available with a much deeper customer profile that includes details about their general condition, history of visits, queries and transactions, always protecting the patient’s right to privacy.

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Opportunities to improve The prism of the patient experience map allows a clearer vision of how new consumers face their health problems and, in this way, respond to their needs and expectations. Although the strategies will depend on the markets, the regulations and the patient’s profile, here we note some opportunities for action. Thus, information is critical both in the pre-diagnostic stage and in understanding the diagnosis and subsequent treatment. In the face of diseases, if before the patient bought just what was prescribed, now he is informed online when he feels the first symptoms, even before going to the doctor. Once diagnosed, the patient tends to return to search engines to find out what the diagnosis means and its implications. And many times before going to buy what is in the prescription, they find out the ingredients of the medicine and the possible side effects to look for alternatives, look for generic drugs, brands and more moderately priced presentations. In light of this vision, it is essential to develop communication strategies that consider the media sources consulted by patients. The pharmacy must position itself digitally as an advisor and a true source of information that helps the patient to resolve her doubts, understand the indications of her therapeutic regimen, avoiding both self-medication and treatment abandonment. In the treatment and normalization phases, they can take advantage of online applications and platforms designed for pharmaceutical assistance. They allow monitoring of the health of patients through protocolized and personalized visit programs, with notification of reviews and appointments, registration and consultation of history, as well as the issuance of reports and personalized advice. With a rigorous follow-up of patients with chronic or long-term illnesses, the pharmacy could offer information and services that facilitate their coexistence with the illness and facilitate continuous treatment. If necessary, the pharmacy could even recommend solutions that complement the prescription or that help alleviate side effects, adapted to each profile.

Preparing for what’s to come

New consumers are increasingly used to using mobile applications and portable devices, especially when they require constant monitoring of their health status, such as diabetics or hypertensives. It is clear that technology will continue to impact the sector. According to some projections, more than 70% of healthcare organizations will use biosensors by 2022. It is also predicted that around 50% of healthcare applications will collect data from clinical wearable devices that will detect patterns and be able to obtain predictive diagnoses. In sensitive areas such as pharmaceuticals, society continues to expect professionalism and closeness. One of the key factors in supporting patients is recognizing that each person -and therefore each therapy- is different, so communication and care must be adapted to everyone. Technology and the patient experience map will end up being strategic to achieve it.]]>