Federal legislation changes over the past year due to the pandemic, have completely revolutionised the way pharmacies operate.
One major change will be the way doctors, patients and pharmacies communicate, in terms of consultation and prescriptions.
For Miller’s Pharmacy on 114 Comur Street, owner Peter Miller believes that by October, most pharmacies across the nation will adopt electronic prescription into their system.
“It will rapidly change. People will either get a QR token sent to their phones which will actually be their prescription and [then] they would go to the pharmacy and scan it,” he said.
A QR code is much like a traditional barcode on a shopping item, QR codes are designed to contain data and information, and then downloaded or read by a camera device such a mobile phone.
Another electronic option for clients to order their medication is through the use of nominated apps on their phone.
Previously, doctors would fax prescriptions to pharmacies for client’s drugs to be supplied, although, respective pharmacies would still require the original prescription presented.
But with legislation changes recently, fax and email are now a legitimate way for a prescription to be managed.
With electronic going forward as an ecological solution, paper scripts could soon be obsolete.
Mr Miller welcomes the portability of digital prescription, he said with traditional methods, clients could lose the paper which could be an inconvenience, that with electronic, it can always be re-sent.
Later this year when electronic prescription is expected to take precedence over paper scripts, clients still have the freedom in choosing which method they would like to collect their medications.
With current software upgrading as well as QR scanners soon to be installed, clients will be able to walk in with either their paper prescription, a QR code ready, or the choice to pre-order using an app.
The software program developed for pharmacies will improve workflow as it will be able to determine and sort, which method clients chose, and then communicate to staff to package relevant drugs.
However, a drawback from such change is a certain level of skill needed with electronic devices, which Mr Miller suggested that for some clients, understandably, “won’t be happy to make that change.”
One thing that won’t change is the trusted and experienced friendly service Miller’s pharmacy customers receive.
In other news for Miller’s Pharmacy, the past eight months with the pandemic have presented many challenges as they are an essential service.
When The Times sat down to chat with Peter on a supposedly quiet Thursday afternoon, there were still phones ringing in the background, customers walking in as well as staff approaching him for advice.
At the beginning of the lockdown phase, Miller’s Pharmacy became busier than usual, with many headed in, to stock up on six months’ worth of medications.
As a result, the Federal Government introduced legislation prohibiting pharmacies from supplying large quantities of stock, as nationally there were huge shortages on medications.
After a month of rush, things managed to ease at Miller’s Pharmacy, but that was mainly due to manufacturing slowing down from overseas.
From a workload point of view, Peter said medication shortages have disrupted efficiency between parties, as commonly, clients had to revisit their GPs and get their drugs changed with these shortages.
During the pandemic as well, delivery services were ramped up as many people could not leave their homes.
Patients were consulting with their health professionals over newer methods such as Zoom calls.
Doctors would then send their prescription to Miller’s Pharmacy and a senior staff member would get on the road to deliver and explain additional instructions to clients.
Owner Peter Miller said his pharmacy has been really lucky from a small business point-of-view and is looking forward to the rest of this year.
“We’re happy to still be here and service the community. We’re continuing to work on adapting changes in response to the circumstances and hopefully, things will be permanent going towards October.”