Bill Lockwood, Chairman/PublisherThere was an interesting article published in the Harvard Business Review last year (July 11, 2018), authored by Greg Satell. The article is titled “The Industrial Era Ended, and So Will the Digital Era.”

In it Satell makes some interesting points. One he makes is that “Today digital technology is all the rage because after decades of development it has become incredibly useful. Still, if you look closely, you can already see the contours of its inevitable descent into the mundane.”

He goes on to say that we need to start preparing for a new era of innovation in which different technologies, such as genomics, materials science, and robotics, rise to the fore. Satell says he sees three main reasons that the digital era is ending. “First is the technology itself. What’s driven all the excitement about computers is our ability to cram more and more transistors onto a silicon wafer, a phenomenon we’ve come to know as Moore’s Law. That enabled us to make our technology exponentially more powerful year after year.”

He makes another interesting point. “Buy a new laptop or mobile phone today, and it pretty much does the same things as the one you bought five years ago. New technologies, such as smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, add the convenience of voice interfaces but little else.”

On a macro level, he has found that the digital revolution, as he states, “for all its charms, has had a fairly limited economic impact, compared with earlier technologies such as electricity and the internal combustion engine.” He says that information technologies make up only about 6% of GDP in advanced economies.

Technology, in my opinion, has made life easier. We have quick access to all sorts of information at our fingertips — we Google it. We have GPS that gives us directions on where we want to go (remember when we had to rely on road maps?) and yardage to the green in golf.

In pharmacy the digital revolution has had a profound impact. Can you imagine still having to submit insurance claims on paper? Not having online alerts on possible drug interactions? And what about robotic dispensing technology? Look at the impact this has had. It is clear to me that computer technology has made it possible for pharmacies to handle the ever-increasing number of prescriptions in an efficient and safe manner.

This year’s chain market report shows that pharmacies continue to invest in the latest offerings through upgrades to existing systems and the addition of new interfaces. The digital era has been good to pharmacy. CT