Emerging technology simultaneously represents some of the biggest threats to pharmacy as we know it, as well as being one of our biggest opportunities. So, what do we — as pharmacists and representatives of pharmacy — do?
Service delivery — that’s where the future lies for many pharmacists. In 2016, the Murray report highlighted an important vision for community pharmacy. Since then, we have seen a great emergence of Healthy Living Pharmacies, we’ve seen more roles for pharmacists in Primary Care, GP practices, and now increasingly in care homes — all of which I have had the benefit of being involved in. Unfortunately, the profession seems to be becoming more disparate instead of integrated. Over-reliance on the supply function has been damaging and it doesn’t look like it is changing fast enough. The Pharmacy Integration Fund has started to come through; however, it’s unclear if this will filter down to struggling pharmacies that communities often rely on for health needs.
I’ve been involved with new roles for pharmacists that include roles in shaping technology for long-term patient care and health prevention. I’ve also had some insight into the technology industry and how this could reshape our notion of medication supply. To be clear, I don’t support any notion of a pharmacy not having a pharmacist on-site. A pharmacy without a pharmacist is not a pharmacy. However, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be bypassed and have new models forced upon us. Technology and systems evolve, and we need to be ready to evolve with them. We must be included in every step. Our angle must be clear — we’re here to protect patient safety.
It’s critical that the RPS is the unifying voice for pharmacy in the digital and technological space. Pharmacy needs to place itself as the best start-point, advice-point, and end-point for emerging healthcare technologies. By focusing on our human skills, our ability to interact with and advise people we not only safeguard our profession, we actively contribute to healthier and fitter societies.
I want pharmacy and pharmacists to really focus on our human skills. Much of this is in service design and service delivery. Something I’ve been intimately involved in for at least a decade. To make this happen, and because I believe I have a unique insight into how we move forward, I am standing as a candidate for the English Pharmacy Board.
Asim Mirza, England
This is a campaign pledge for the 2018 National Pharmacy Board elections.
Voting opens on 30 April 2018 and closes on 18 May 2018.
For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/RPSNPB2018