What is pharmacy management?
Over the last few years, pharmacies have transformed from just a place that supplies medicines to a place where almost all the medical needs of people are met. Rather than providing the medicines, it also helps the patients by providing advice regarding the dosage, composition, possible side effects of the drugs, and a lot more information. As a result of this transformation, it has become much more complex to manage this system. Hence pharmacy management systems evolved.
Pharmacy management systems have become a crucial part of any pharmacy that benefits both the management and consumers in several ways. It provides centralized data storage with enhanced security levels to streamline the workflow and to smoothly run the pharmacy.
The mobile application for pharmacy management enables pharmacy employees to access all the required information at their fingertips. It is an online tool that helps to integrate certain functionalities such as
- Pharmacy management
- Medicines management
- Stock management
- Company management
- Sells management
- Inventory management
Introducing the pharmacy routines to a digital platform is the right way to manage the processes in order and monitor the reports effectively. It provides personalized service to every customer by tracking their previous medical history and thereby providing the best advice to them. Also, it enables the pharmacies to remind their customers about the next purchase. A computerized system always helps to keep track of the medicines and the medical equipment stocks and it is easy to identify the products which are out of stock. Above all, it provides a platform to track sales reports including the generated profit. This enables the manager to easily analyze the business prospects of the pharmacy.
EHR and its advantages:
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a systematized digital version of a patient’s health records. These are an important part of the health department. EHRs contain the real-time clinical record of a patient which is relevant to that person’s care including their medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, allergies(if any), radiology images, laboratory test results, etc. The details are made available to the authorized users only, hence the information is 100% secure in the database. These details enable the providers to make the right decisions for a patient. One of the key features of an EHR is, the health reports can be shared among other healthcare providers such as pharmacists, laboratories to include the information about that particular patient from every clinician. So that none of the clinical data will be lost. The advantages of EHRs are,
- Provide up to date information about the patient accurately
- Enable quick access of the record to coordinate the care
- Enhanced security of data
- Accessible to both patient and other health care providers
- Reduced medical errors and healthcare risks
- Reliable prescribing
- Reduced duplication of tests
PDMP and its features:
PDMP is a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This is an electronic database system implemented at the state level to track the substance prescription in a state. The goal of PDMP is to assist medical, pharmacy, health professionals as well as law enforcement agencies in the identification and prevention of prescription drug abuse. It helps to prevent the misuse and abuse of prescribed drugs by supporting the legitimate use of controlled substances. Prescription drug monitoring programs are one of the most promising state-level implementations to reduce the over usage of controlled substances and protect patients at risk. The introduction of PDMP has changed the way of prescribing behavior among providers. The prescribers use PDMP every time they prepare a prescription to reduce the opioid crisis. Hence it gives an idea about the patient’s complete drug prescription history. It also helps the prescribers to detect the patient’s opioid dependency.
The features of PDMP are,
- Universal use
- Actively managed
- Easy to use and access
Integration of PDMP & EHR in a pharmacy management app
To streamline the provider access and to improve the provider’s understanding of the PDMP reports, it is always advisable to integrate the PDMP with the health information technologies. So it is the right option to integrate PDMP and EHR with the pharmacy management system.
Steps for integration:
- Assign an integration project leader
It is always an important factor to assign someone to control the project from beginning to end. A person who possesses leadership skills and technical background would be the best fit for this role. The integration project leader will be the primary contact for all the other participants of the project.
- Submit documents
To begin the project, the integration project leader should submit all the required documents through the state health authority website. The documents include the PDMP integration request form and an end-user license agreement(EULA).
- Connect with EHR and pharmacy management system provider
Once the documents are submitted, the leader can connect with the software vendor to discuss the plans. If the health system is already connected with any PDMP APIs, then the integration process can be carried out directly with the vendor without the interference of the gateway provider.
- Ask support from the state PDMP provider
In case if the software vendor doesn’t offer any pre-built integration services, the gateway provider will give the API documentation, testing materials, and technical support to facilitate the development process. If the state database is not associated with any PDMP aggregator, the integration process takes more effort and becomes expensive.
- Configure PDMP workflow
Before starting the development process, one should have a clear-cut idea of how the system should work. So it is important to design the workflow accordingly.
- Consider additional features and analytics
Some states limit the application of analytics but even then some additional features such as alert notifications for practitioners on drug abuse behaviors, risk scores calculated from health histories, benchmarking dashboards, etc can be applied.
When the integration and additional features are set, the system vendor will schedule the deployment date.
- Train the staff
The final step is to train the users to use it properly. Since the system is automated, one who uses this must have a clear knowledge of the system.
How does PDMP interact with the other systems?
- An authorized prescriber logs into a PDMP portal and enters the patient’s information and the name of a drug.
- The PDMP database returns the CDS(controlled dangerous substances) history of the patient.
- If approved, the digital order is submitted to a pharmacy
- In some situations, a pharmacist must query the PDMP before dispensing.
- When the drug is dispensed, the pharmacist sends an update to the PDMP database within 24 to 72 hours.
- Then this information is added to the patient’s history by the PDMP
The ultimate goal of PDMP is to fight the opioid epidemic and save lives. At the same time, EHR provides the complete medical history of a patient. Integrating these two systems with a pharmacy management app is the best option to support the decision-making process in the health care of a person by reducing the overutilization of controlled substances. Since the system is completely automated, it is more efficient and has an enhanced security level. The arrival of this integrated system can uplift the health care system by improving all the aspects of patient care.