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How will patient-centred technology affect your pharmacy?

11 May, 2017 - Anna Sayburn, Chemist+Druggist

Apps and wearable technology are transforming healthcare. But how will they impact you?

Technology has transformed the way we manage all aspects of our lives, from finances and healthcare to shopping. You can bank on your phone, order medicines online and track your sleep, exercise and diet through apps and wearable technologies.

How can pharmacists retain relevance in this brave new world? One way forward may be to embrace this technology, thanks to a new generation of apps being developed that aim to bridge the gap between GP surgeries, community pharmacies and patients.

Apps for adherence

This gap is clearest when it comes to the problem of medicines adherence. Pharmacists are only too aware of the waste this can cause. So what does the digital world have to offer?

Mobile device apps that help patients manage multiple medications have been around for years. One of the most popular, Medisafe Medication and Pill Reminder, allows individuals to set reminders to take their medicines, track when they have taken them and record useful information. The app can send reports to the pharmacist or doctor, and can even be used to manage several people – which may be helpful for keeping track of a whole family’s medications.

The down side is that patients have to set the system up themselves, entering the medicine name, dosage and frequency for each medicine. Not only is this time-consuming, it’s open to user error.

An alternative might be to set up these alerts on an online calendar, then enlist personal digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Assist and Amazon’s Alexa (which operates via an all-hearing speaker unit).

Putting the patient at the centre

When C+D spoke to Lloydspharmacy’s managing director Cormac Tobin in February, he was enthusiastic about the potential of Alexa – which he has installed in his office – to communicate with older people, perhaps with memory problems, about their medicines. He says this new way of doing things puts the patient at the centre of the system.

"It is superb," he says. "Man gets up in the morning, Alexa tells him how to take his medicines. Alexa tells him there’s an email – the doctor has changed his prescriptions for renewal. [Should it] send that to the pharmacy or home?"

Another company aiming to put the patient at the centre is Healthera, currently using NHS England funding to develop an app which it claims will allow “the seamless passage of information” from pharmacies’ patient medication record systems to patients’ phones.

“It eliminates a lot of patient steps,” says Healthera managing director Martin Hao (pictured below).



Once the final version of the app is released later this year, he says, it will be capable of integrating with pharmacy systems. Pharmacies will be able to generate code for their medication labels which can then be scanned by a patient’s smartphone to automatically set up alerts and a medication schedule on the phone’s calendar.

It can also be used to track adherence, which the patient can choose to share with their pharmacy or GP practice, feeding back crucial information.

“Our app detects abnormalities and notifies healthcare professionals – predominantly pharmacists – to take a look,” says Mr Hao. “There should be professional intervention when you have misuse or non-adherence.”

The motivation question

But former doctor Adrian Raudschal, now product director at technology company Juno Healthcare, says technology still hasn't cracked one of the major stumbling blocks to adherence – motivation.

“People become desensitised to alerts and being told to take medication. [Technology] hasn’t found its way there currently. The major bottleneck seems to be on the motivational side. How can we encourage people to think about it?”

Accelerated growth

While there may be no easy answer to adherence, there is “increased momentum” behind digital innovations across the NHS more generally, according to Yinka Makinde, a former pharmacist and now programme director for Digital Health London.

The organisation is an “accelerator”, providing advice and support for innovative healthcare technology companies. She says there are several initiatives that pharmacists should know about, including digital prevention programmes aiming to help people manage type two diabetes better.

“If there’s one area ripe for innovation, it seems to be diabetes. Community pharmacists might start seeing patients using these self-care apps. [They] may either be asked about it, or it’s an opportunity to get involved and find out about the apps,” she says.

Another important programme getting started is 111 Online, Ms Makinde says. “They are currently developing an online version – a number of different patient-facing apps that could be used as a substitute for the [NHS 111] phone line. They are testing four products and will release the results in due course.”

It's not just phone calls that will have a digital alternative, consultations with healthcare professionals could soon be next. Babylon Health – an app which allows you video call a private doctor – “is being considered quite widely”, she says. But she flags up a company “very relevant to pharmacy”, called Medicspot. “It was set up by a GP, who created a virtual consultation app designed to be carried out in community pharmacy,” she says.

Pharmacies signing up to take part in the scheme will need to have a range of examination tools in their private consultation room. They can then offer patients a chance to talk to a doctor immediately online through the app, along with a virtual examination if necessary.

If a pharmacist encounters a patient issue that means they need to see a doctor, "rather than leave the premises, they can see the GP there and then," Ms Makinde explains. "It’s a way to leverage the consultation rooms pharmacies have. It’s a halfway house between being completely supervised at the GP practice and being on your own at home."

Future possibilities

Consumers can already buy wearable technology to help them get a good night’s sleep, monitor stress levels, encourage them to get active, take their blood pressure and relay 'biofeedback' about the effect of a medicine. In fact, a Californian doctor made global headlines last month when he tweeted a smartphone ultrasound of his kidney stone, which showed inflammation – a diagnosis later confirmed in A&E.

Matt Poole, digital director of Lloydspharmacy's parent company Celesio UK, told C+D in February that he sees the advent of wearable technology as an opportunity for pharmacy.

“More and more people have devices [and] wearables. There’s more data and they’re sharing more – and that’s the expectation,” he says. “The patient will share data with you, if they think you’re going to use if for their benefit.”

But Mr Hao is more cautious. “I’m an enthusiast – I trained as a computer scientist. I keep an eye on the latest trends in the industry,” he says. However: “Wearable [technology] has a way to go. I don’t want to play Big Brother, monitoring people. It’s better to encourage patients to take care of their own health and their condition, rather than being monitored and tracked [by pharmacies].”

He says that, in theory, you could have a medicines adherence system where a collar can detect whether a person has swallowed a drug or not. But he prefers to leave compliance reporting in the hands of the patient.

“If they want to use it as a smart medication diary, that’s fine. If they’re always forgetting [to take medicines], this app can help with that as well.” But, he says: “We’re relying on the patient reporting whether they’ve taken [the drug] or not. My response is always that it’s up to the patients.”

Mr Raudschal believes data such as blood glucose readings, blood pressure and cholesterol levels will only be useful when it can be collected passively, with as little input as possible from the patient. Otherwise, he says: “We’re asking people to actively do something and record it. The future is passive data collection.”

"New and shiny" is not always the answer

Mr Raudschal believes that the best solutions may not always be the latest developments fresh from the lab, but making the most of existing options. Older patients, for example, may not have smartphones, but smart thinking can leverage the technology they already have – such as SMS messaging.

“People are so drawn to what’s new and shiny, and that’s what attracts investment – it’s more sexy.” But to reach the people who have the biggest problem with medicines management, pharmacists may need to rely on more old-fashioned methods – including face-to-face discussions and rationalised medicines routines.

But retaining their proven strengths of patient interactions and medicines expertise, while taking their pick of the most relevant and other technological innovations, pharmacists may be able to find a solution that works for each one of their patients.

Star Pharmacies of the Month April 2017

11 May, 2017

And Healthera’s star pharmacies of this month are:


The Nelson Pharmacy


Cambridge Numark Pharmacy


This month has been an exciting month for Healthera, and we are truly grateful for the outstanding support and focussed promotion we have received from all of our dedicated pharmacies.

Both of the star pharmacies we selected this month have made great use of the Healthera platform; to advertise their pharmacy brands, exhibit their impressive range of services and products and to communicate with their patients for the best practice in patient-centred care. With the help of our Healthera Brand Ambassadors and free marketing materials, the promising patient uptake seen in their pharmacies has been the result of concerted on-site promotion efforts and our extensive social media campaign.

Great work!


Following on from their successes our Pharmacy Innovation Manager Ayshea visited our star pharmacies to ask them how they have been getting on with the Healthera platform:

How easy was it for you to implement the Healthera platform into your pharmacy and how do you feel this will benefit your business?

Kumar (Numark Pharmacy): ‘Really simple to implement the Healthera Technology in my pharmacies. Pharmacists should not fear the changes and embrace the digital era.’

Raj (The Nelson Pharmacy): "The implementation was quiet straightforward. No complications, the Healthera team did it all. The use of technology in Community Pharmacy needs to move forward and allowing patients to use an app to aid compliance, reminders, order repeat prescriptions and speak to the Pharmacy Team directly is fantastic.

How easy has it been for you to promote the App to your patients and have our marketing materials, media campaigns and Ambassadors been helpful to you?

Kumar: ‘I have found it very easy to promote the App to my patients. Healthera have been a great support and not only provided the leaflets and posters but have also had onsite Ambassador help which has been invaluable when we have been too busy in-store to speak with every patient. The social media marketing they provide is also a great source of marketing to help us get this up and running.’

Raj: ‘Healthera provide all the marketing materials, flyers, posters and video content for my LED screens so everything has been done for us. I also asked for video content with subtitles which was provided promptly. Ambassadors even come to the pharmacy to help promote the app to patients.’ Second to none for customer support, and help.

What do you like about Healthera as a whole?

Kumar: ‘Healthera have been second to none for the support they have provided me in my pharmacies to get this new technology up and running. The whole team at Healthera are very passionate and enthusiastic about the success of this technology and I believe this will be successful for them.’

Raj: ‘The team are very friendly and very open to ideas and innovations. So I hope to work more closely with them to bring Community Pharmacy into the digital age.’


For more information on how the Healthera platform can benefit your pharmacy visit our website. (www.healthera.co.uk) or contact the Healthera team on 07913281294 / 07733388595.

Next month’s star could be you!

Damaging CCG Ban on Pharmacy Repeat Ordering

28 April, 2017 - Neil Trannis, Pharmacy Business

Martin Hao and Quintus Liu, co-founders of Healthera, are concerned the controversial trend of Clinical Commissioning Groups blocking community pharmacies from ordering repeat prescriptions will be harmful in a variety of ways...

The controversial trend to scrap repeat prescription schemes has divided opinion in the sector, and with an increasing number of CCGs joining the bandwagon, it raises the question of whether this approach is going to deliver the benefits it claims.

Many CCGs have implemented schemes to stop pharmacies reordering prescriptions, most notably Luton which was the first to roll out the new repeat prescribing model in a bid to reduce POM line 'over-ordering' and save the NHS money. Interestingly there has been much discussion regarding the validity of the Luton report's findings which claim an estimated savings of £2m over two years. However following on from the ostensible successes of Luton's new scheme other commissioning groups across the UK have been quick to follow in the CCGs footsteps and a number of others are now moving to adopt similar models.

Whilst it is hard to deny that it will save money by reducing the total number of prescriptions dispensed, the real question is whether or not this scheme is the right, or even a sensible answer to tackling the wider problem of medicine overuse and prescription over-ordering and more importantly whether there is a better option.

Although there are clear benefits, unfortunately it appears that the negative impact on pharmacies has not been properly considered, and the deeper more significant parts of the scheme have been overshadowed by statements of blame.

Of course it is important that all practices and pharmacies are encouraged to streamline their repeat prescribing procedures, that GPs and pharmacists are re-trained to reduce over-prescribing, that the strapline 'being a hoarder is out of order' be championed and yet this could most definitely be achieved without an outright ban on pharmacy prescription re-ordering.

Is it the right thing to do?

Probably the most pressing concern being expressed by pharmacy staff is that in the ares this scheme has been implemented, there is a decreased footfall and consequently less business.

Another clear impact on pharmacy is one of script processing efficiency. It is common practice in many pharmacies to plan ahead for the week based on the estimated number of scripts that need to be dispensed. Without that knowledge, it would be harder to effectively rota staff hours and efficiently manage time.

The relationship between repeat ordering and savings may not be straightforward, and rather than making repeat ordering more efficient, banning repeat prescriptions from pharmacies could cause a significant extra workload for GP practices; extra pressure on already stretched medical practices.

There are also real concerns in terms of what this means for patients, and whether it indeed restricts access to medicines. Tthat is not to mention the issues that thousands of elderly patients and carers may have when increasing their visits to GP practices or struggling to order and track repeats online.

Any steps that encourage the industry to reduce expenditure and chieve better value for money are very welcome, and whilst the idea behind the initiative to save the NHS money is much needed, the question remains as to whether it is the most appropriate course of action.

Removing community pharmacies from the repeat prescription process adversely impacts a range of areas; is it really the right thing to do?

This is the time to consider alternative approaches; perhaps non-intrusive ways to encourage and record patients ordering their own prescriptions, through their trusted pharmacies to their designated GPs, thereby keeping pharmacists and their professionalism in the loop, rather than brutally leaving them behind.

https://www.pharmacy.biz/resources/damaging-ccg-ban-pharmacy-repeat-ordering/

Healthera Interview at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

17 Feburary, 2017 - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

(from 1:40:40, 17 February Chris Mann's DriveTime)

But there’s another app that’s on the technology horizon that claim it could ease pressure on our NHS by making fewer people need their GP. Martin Hao and Quintus Liu Cambridge University graduates and founders of Healthera. Join me now in the studio. It’s a big claim, that fewer people are going to see their GP’s. Could you - well - first of all, just describe what your app does for us.

Martin: right no problem. So we would like to see the app in two parts.  First, we see it as a smart medicine reminder. It reminds people taking the right medicines at the right time. Second part, we see it as a smart assisted medicine diary that analyses your medicine intake pattern, identifies any misuses, or lack of schedule in your medicine, and automatically connect you to your health care professionals so you can automatically get immediate help.

So I suppose, Quintus, this relies on the user doing what they’re meant to do.

Quintus: Well yes, and no. Because we have an automatic system that takes the data, medicine data from the pharmacies, and puts the data on the user’s phones automatically. You have to see this live when it goes on the app store and in some of our most beloved pharmacies in Cambridge on March 17. That includes Petersfield pharmacy, Fitzwilliam Pharmacy, Kays Chemists, Kumar Pharmacy and Numark Pharmacy. All of these great brands within Cambridge. It’s going to be live. Just go speak to the pharmacist.

But it does rely a bit on the user saying yes I’ve taken my medicine when I’m meant to take it

Quintus: Well we have some long-term plans working with hardware suppliers, to automate even that part. But initially it’s going to rely on the users, and it’s also going to rely on the pharmacist helping patients. You know patients don’t realise how good their pharmacies are when it comes to providing clinical assistance and clinical common sense for day-to-day life. Or even providing small services like for minor ailments. And we help facilitate that; we help pharmacies do better when they’re struggling in the climate here.

Martin: The idea is not to put on this Big Brother idea in the whole app.

So you’re letting the user almost take control of what’s going on but having someone follow just to make sure.

Martin: Really empower them to take control of their own health and manage their own conditions

Because that’s what everybody wants to do. They want to know what to do, when they’re doing it, and have overall control.

So, are there any potential risks - for example, patients not getting face-to-face with medical professionals?

Quintus: Well our solution is meant to help patients get more face to face with the professionals by becoming more aware of what their pharmacies are offering - what their community pharmacies are offering. And enhance that communication, leading to more healthier lives for the patients and obviously better businesses for the pharmacies.

Now we hear a lot about technology. The dot-com bubble that’s around there. We see people making millions. Look at Mark Zuckerberg with his facebook. Is this an altruistic thing from you guys? Are you doing this just because you feel like you want to give something back to the community or is this going to make you money somehow?

Martin: Well, our priority is to help patients. As consumers, a lot of us are monitoring our food intake, measuring our health, measuring our everything everyday. But people don’t share the same attitude towards medicines, the things we heavily rely on and don’t know too much about.

Quintus: So we’re very much partnered with the public sector, with the NHS, our nice single-payer system. So the NHS has funded us for a part of the development and going forward they may be funding through the Clinical Commissioning Groups some more parts of the product once it’s available. So it’s very much a public sector effort combined with innovation that you can only get from the private sector.

Do you know how much money might be saved by the NHS through this?

Quintus: Roughly 1 - 2 million just within one CCG, in this case Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, from wasted prescriptions, from people going to A&E when they might not need to go if they were taking their medicines properly, and potentially other savings.

And I imagine you’re going to say “yes” to the question but is it easy to use?

Martin: Yes

Quintus: Absolutely. Well the patients think so, so far, so..

Can you describe in a very brief time as to what it’ll look like. Is it just pressing buttons? Is it just pressing yes or no?

Quintus: For the mobile app, you really have to see it. But it’s formed with bubbles and love. Bubbles and love and colours. A lot of different colours. Rainbow colours actually. And for the pharmacy it’s a step up from what they’re used to seeing when it comes to pharmacy management software.

Guys I wish you every success. Thank you very much for coming this evening. It launches on March 17th. It could save your local CCG’s £1-2 million a year. Martin Hao and Quintus Liu thank you for joining us this evening!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04qlrl9

The Rise of Patient-centred Technologies in Community Pharmacy

6 Feburary, 2017 - The Pharmaceutical Journal

What addition would enable better patient-centred care in your pharmacy? For community pharmacists and pharmacy owners, additional staff are often the first preference. With the current technology capacity of most UK pharmacies, extra staff mean more prescriptions dispensed, more services conducted and more patients attended to. But when the same question is limited to technological additions, responses are often more polarised, owing to drastically dissimilar experiences.

There is a clear divide in technology adoption. At one end, very few pharmacies in the UK have adopted highly integrated pharmacy automation technologies. No matter how efficient these packaging robots are, their high volume of dispensing comes at the expense of pharmacy space, training, maintenance and budgets.

Occasionally, community pharmacies pioneer customised solutions for patients in a confined geographical area, such as mobile app-enabled repeat and delivery. However, some see the coordination of these local platforms and tools as a complex challenge that incurs the opportunity cost of missing out latest industry best practice – resulting in stagnated modernisation of pharmacy.

Patients using technology to track and improve their health, diet and fitness have often not had the same attitude towards medicines management. For instance, apps that monitor sugar intake or levels of exercise are commonplace in the consumer market, while the area of medicines management has remained somewhat overlooked.

There is a clear gap in pharmacy technologies, which can be filled by patient-centred solutions, and this is where the change in direction lies for 2017: scalable technologies that enable patients to take control of their medication, and are both affordable and applicable to all pharmacies settings.

New pharmacy-integrated technologies will assist pharmacists with their workflow, as opposed to bringing in extra technicalities or confusion. Therefore, the technologies that standardise and channel all the pharmacy offerings into a single point of access will become an attractive option. Imagine a one-stop shop of all common patient-centred care elements, where the user flow makes logical links between these elements to optimise monetisation and minimise resources waste.

In 2017, pharmacy-integrated technologies will start empowering patients with information and top-tier user experience, while bringing pharmacies tangible benefits. It is typical for pharmacies to have adopted some type of medicine app or gadget. However, historically those standalone technology solutions have not proved successful owing either to a lack of incentive for patients to adopt the technology or for the pharmacists to promote it. After all, amid the industry-wide budget cuts and the tightening regulation on repeat prescriptions, pharmacy owners have to seek a challenging balance between efficacies and return on investment of patient-centred solutions.

Importantly, patient-centred care solutions will place trust in patients to take ownership of their conditions once health professionals have provided appropriate assistance. Patients are empowered by providing essential and professional information, rather than limited with impersonalised rules and guidelines. In turn, this cultivates good patient habits by initiating the right level of engagement, rather than applying strict monitoring. Take medical adherence as an example: more than 50% of the UK population is currently taking a prescription, yet only 16% of patients who are on a new medicine take it as prescribed, experience no problems and receive as much information as needed. The rest are either in need of more information about their medication regimen, or require appropriate intervention to get back on track.

Operational and financial challenges lie ahead, but 2017 could see the advance of patient-centred technologies and the rise of community pharmacy as the digital personal healthcare hub.

http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/opinion/blogs/the-rise-of-patient-centred-technologies-in-community-pharmacy/20202232.blog

The next big thing?

20 January, 2017 - The Pharmacy Magazine

Patient-centred technologies are likely to emerge as the next big trend for pharmacy in 2017, say Martin Hao and Quintus Liu of personal health technology firm Healthera

Many people already measure food intake or track activity on a daily basis with apps and gadgets but, to-date, there hasn’t been the same conscientious attitude towards medicines. This is expected to change going forward as pharmacies turn into digital ‘personal healthcare hubs’ and empower patients to make informed decisions about their medicines.

When pharmacists are asked what makes for better patient-centred care, answers vary greatly. At one end of the spectrum, the vast majority say “more staff ”. This isn’t because there is an innate reluctance towards technology solutions, or a lack of awareness – it is because existing solutions have not really solved the problems.

Many pharmacies have tried adopting sporadic technology solutions to cover certain aspects of patient care, such as online platforms to log incoming service appointments, or texting services to remind patients of medication schedules and repeats ready for collection.

However, the hassle involved in co-ordinating these plat-forms and tools often leave pharmacists fatigued without seeing clear benefits.

At the other end of the spectrum, some pharmacies experience the benefits of highly integrated automation technologies. These robots are capable of high volume dispensing, freeing up pharmacist time to devote to patient-centred care. However, this approach comes at the expense of space, training, maintenance work and hundreds of thousands of pounds, putting it out of the reach for the vast majority of community pharmacies.

Bridging the gap

It is fairly easy to spot a gap in pharmacy technologies here: a void of scalable, affordable technology solutions that are applicable to all pharmacy settings, yet at the same time well-integrated with current pharmacy systems to facilitate an offering of patient-centred care practices.

So how will this technology gap in pharmacies be filled? First of all, pharmacy-integrated technologies will assist pharmacists and their workflow, as opposed to bringing in extra technicalities and confusion. Secondly, they will predicate on empowering patients with information while bringing pharmacies tangible benefits. Last but not least, patient-centred care solutions will enable patients to take ownership of their conditions once appropriate assistance is given by healthcare professionals.

Medicine diary

The Healthera app is a smart medicine diary for patients that analyses their medicine-taking pattern, records their concerns and helps them gain their pharmacist’s or doctor’s attention when misuse or irregular medicine-taking occurs.

The Healthera system interprets the medicine’s name and instruction found on prescription dispensing labels into a medicine schedule, then turns it into a QR code that is printed on the label. Patients can then use the app to scan the label, adding the medicine schedule to their phone’s calendar. Further information on the app is available at healthera.co.uk.

http://www.pharmacymagazine.co.uk/tne-next-big-thing

A&E to benefit from £4.3 million SBRI Healthcare funding

20 December, 2016 - SBRI Healthcare

With Accident and Emergency pressures well reported and as waiting times reach their highest level in more than a decade, SBRI Healthcare today announced £4.3 million investment in new technologies that could reduce pressures in this vital area.

Five innovations that have potential to reduce emergency admissions via A&E through wireless monitoring and the use of self-help apps, pioneering point of care diagnostic testing, and a novel way of to manage urgent care flow have been selected. Each successful company will receive up to £1 million in financial backing to take their products to the next stage in development.

Dr Liz Mear, Chair of the AHSN Network commented: “A&E waiting times have been increasing over time with recent figures showing more than one in ten patients are waiting at least four hours for a hospital bed after emergency admission, a near five-fold increase since 2010/11. The causes of the problems in A&E, and the solutions to address them, are complex and to a great extent dependent on processes and capacity in other hospital departments, as well as other parts of the health and care system.”

SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England initiative, led by the country’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), that co-develops innovative products to address unmet health needs.

The five companies selected by SBRI Healthcare for the second tranche of investment were drawn from a shortlist of 14 companies that received six months feasibility funding in March 2016. The successful companies demonstrated best value and greatest technical feasibility to a panel of experts looking for game-changing technologies with the highest potential value to patients and the health service. The companies will be supported and fully funded to continue with product development and testing.

http://sbrihealthcare.co.uk/news/technologies-that-ease-pressure-on-urgent-and-emergency-care-services-receive-financial-backing/

Making medicine simple

4 October, 2016 - Martin Hao

Despite the fact that over 50% of UK residents take regular prescription medicines, we don’t think much beyond the instructions given on the box, despite our reliance on medicines to regulate conditions or improve our health. In fact, only 16% of patients who are given a new medicine take it as prescribed, experience no problems and receive as much information as they need.

Almost a third of patients stop taking their medicines correctly after only 10 days for a variety of reasons. Poor medicine management accounts for over £4 billion of wastage for NHS England and 3-4% of hospital admissions every year. So that’s why, with the support of Cambridge Enterprise, we founded Healthera. Our mission is to improve this status quo by enabling patients to stay in control of their health. We aim to reduce the vulnerability, stress and confusion that comes with taking medication.

The Healthera app is a smart medicine diary for patients that analyses their medicine-taking pattern, records their concerns and helps them gain their pharmacist or doctor’s attention when misuse or irregular medicine-taking occurs. The Healthera system interprets the medicine’s name and instruction found on prescription dispense labels into a medicine schedule, then turns it into a QR code that is printed on the label. Patients can then use the Healthera App to scan the label, adding the medicine schedule to their phone’s calendar. As Healthera has collaborated with pharmaceutical IT providers and pharmacies nation-wide to develop their system, not long from now patients will find the smart prescription dispense label on their pill bottles and boxes. Healthcare professionals including pharmacists and GPs also benefit. Pharmacists can now directly interact with patients and resolve their non-urgent medicine concerns, helping to transform community pharmacies into digital hubs of patient-centred healthcare by encouraging pharmacists to take on clinical roles and relieving unnecessary workload from GPs. Pharmacists are then able to attend to more patients in a shorter time. GPs will be able to access their patients’ medicine schedule and medical notes, thereby making data-oriented medical decisions quicker during appointments.

During the last 10 months of product development, Healthera has launched two product trials with local pharmacies and organised more than 40 patient engagement activities. When it came to creating the Healthera App, we started from scratch, wrote the desired functions with patients and healthcare professionals, sketched the designs with them and fine-tuned every single user interaction throughout. As a result, the Healthera app is essentially designed by patients, for patients.

The Healthera method has introduced a new engagement model of healthcare professionals to the patient care pathway. The model was awarded development funding from SBRI Healthcare, an NHS England initiative to develop innovative products that address unmet health needs. The technology was recognised for its potential to significantly impact the increasing pressures being put on urgent and emergency care services.

https://www.enterprise.cam.ac.uk/making-medicine-simple/