by Charles D. Shively, Ph.D., R.Ph.

Independents? Chains? Outpatient hospital pharmacies? Which of these pharmacy organizations offer their customer/patients open access to their pharmacy medication profile? Which pharmacies have further expanded this client contact by offering mobile apps… eMobile? What’s the old expression? You snooze, you lose?

With over 1,000,000 apps for both iPhone and Android devices… and more being created daily… the number of healthcare apps available is literally moving our pharmacy service opportunities to another level. Who here is eMobile delivering eHealth via ePharmacy? This profession change is moving rapidly… are you on board? Are pharmacy software systems and automated pharmacy dispensing used as a link to eMobile and eHealth? Many pharmacies have not even added QR codes to their patient labels or receipts. The mobile service providers know where the future is headed… they are already building cross-platform and carrier-agnostic solutions that will allow health-driven apps for consumer access to support their individual healthcare effort.

Should patient/customers have access directly to their pharmacy profiles? Some pharmacies already allow this option. Many organizations including independents, chains and outpatient hospital pharmacies now offer this option… including via mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, including tablets. Many hospitals have expanded this technology to allow complete access via health portals and whiteboards to the individual patient electronic medical record (EMR) including all in-system commentary and lab results.

With increased attention by pharmacists and their pharmacies to incorporate significant adherence action agenda (A3) and advanced medication therapy management (MTM) efforts to support their forthcoming Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services CMS star rating for pharmacies, how best to ensure what pharmacy will become? Although the CMS star rating for pharmacy performance is initially focused on a Medicare population of focus (POF), many pharmacist-owners know once implementation of the star rating system occurs, it will be extended to include a Medicaid POF. In today’s pharmacy environ, these POF may represent over 60-70% of those needing prescription service with allowable subsequent reimbursement for pharmacy service.

How might the health-conscious public see the expanded use of open-access (read only) to their medication profiles through mobile applications better elevate the “I’m Helping Myself” approach to their healthcare and medication usage… and help any pharmacy establish and improve their CMS star rating?

Should everything today in pharmacy be distilled down to zeros (0) and ones (1)? Of course not… yet we are being driven in that direction. Let’s PharmacyUp… our experience has taught us how. CT

Charles Shively is chief executive and pharmacy officer of www.PharmacyCE.com and www.HealthcareLearnings.com