In 2020 and beyond, online prescriptions and digital health records will continue to take hold, genomics and artificial intelligence will transform patient care and pharmacies will be increasingly eco-responsible. Quick peek.
Ever more digital
Years ago, in 2008, a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted that the use of online prescriptions would become common by 2020. Although this prediction has not fully come to pass in Canada, pharmacists are using it more and more, and governments are gradually implementing measures to encourage its systematic use. The coming years will likely see the end of paper prescriptions. Not only is it more convenient for the patient, who can keep track of it more easily, but it also eliminates mistakes in reading and interpreting prescriptions. It also quickly provides the doctor with the clinical information he needs, particularly regarding combinations of medications consumed by patients. For digital prescriptions to become widespread in Canada, as is practically already the case in the United States, it will be necessary to adopt the digital health record and provide for a system integrating the two practices. Canada is somewhat lagging behind in this area, but there is a clear willingness by the pharmaceutical community and the government!
Pharmacogenomics moving ahead!
“Great advances have been made in research on the impact of genetic variations on dosage needs, effectiveness and safety of drugs,” note the organizers of the recent Pharmaceutical Future Forum at the Université de Montréal. Combined with artificial intelligence, genomics will soon allow each client to be offered drug doses adapted to their genetics and to anticipate the risks of secondary effects specific to each patient. This practice is already part of the daily work of many pharmacists!
The green pharmacy
In this period of ecological transition, everyone has to put their shoulder to the wheel to offer an increasingly eco-responsible service. The pharmaceutical community, often singled out for overpackaging products and managing medical waste, still has work to do to improve its practices. Safely destroying expired drugs is a critical factor. There are also programs to dispose of them responsibly. Pharmacists would also benefit from better communication about this with their clients: all the studies confirm that patients like to be informed about their pharmacy’s green initiatives.