Thursday, May 30, 2013

I2P: Rolling Pharmacies into the Digital Age

The Digital Age won't be more of the same, but faster, for Pharmacies.

There are three big Disruptions coming your way, necessary to address ballooning healthcare costs :
  • Dispensing 'tapes' and secure cartridges for in-home personalised dispensing.
    • In the 1970's electronics manufacturers moved to automated "pick and place" of parts. Instead of selling loose parts, manufacturers supplied them on tapes, which were loaded into the automatic machines.
    • Large automated dispensaries are currently being sold to hospitals and multiple suppliers are selling pre-packed & labelled medications to nursing homes. The problem for both these approaches are that most patients aren't in these locations, especially the elderly who are likely to miss doses or multi-dose, leading to potentially fatal consequences.
    • Home dispensing machines will need to read identity bracelets and have one or more biometric detectors (as simple as a microphone or video camera+face recognition) to confirm who is being dosed and to log dispensing.
The "magic sauce" for Pharmacists is becoming the Technology and Patient Monitoring gatekeeper, or "goto guy" (or persons for those that like that language).

The reason Pharmacists can take this ground is simple and compelling:
Doctors are too busy, nurses see people and know if they are maintaining their health, but only Pharmacists know in detail the effects of drugs, non-drug treatments and adjuncts and the many subtle warning signals. Plus, people generally like their pharmacist and feel confident in talking to them.
Integrating these three Disruptive forces allows additional hihg-value services, like changing dosages in response to new readings.