I’VE been hearing about how pharmacy is changing since I was at Uni. The truth, however, is that pharmacy changes relatively slowly. The world changes constantly, and the rate of change in our lives, our societies and indeed our profession, only gets faster. We can’t stop it, we can’t really slow it down, we have to deal with it.
Now when it comes to remote supervision, well, it’s almost too easy to say that we are against it. It’s going to happen, and (as much as I hate to quote Bono) it’s happening “with or without you.” The scary truth bomb is that much of the role that we have associated with being in the pharmacist’s domain will be superseded by a machine. And yes, I accept that machines have some way to go, but they only get better. And they get better faster and faster with each new iteration. We, however, are constrained in human bodies. We’re not going to evolve super spidey senses tomorrow! Look, with the increasing use of autonomous systems, Internet of Things, data accessibility, issues such as remote supervision and clinical check roles are just the tip of the iceberg.
We can’t stand in the way of progress, but we can damned well make sure that it happens in the best interest of the patient. We can use our skills, experience and indeed our humanity to ensure that any decision or process that involves medication and patient care has pharmacist involvement and not just a crack team of coders.
So, I think I’ve got some experience of this, I’ve been placing pharmacy and pharmacists in new roles for the last three years. This includes new roles in primary care, care homes and also roles in emerging technology. I have also been forced to look at alternative funding models that don’t rely on NHS revenue to stay commercially viable. All things pharmacy will need to seriously consider as time moves on.
To stay relevant, I want pharmacy and pharmacists to really focus on our human skills. Things that only humans can do. Much of this is in service design and service delivery. Something I’ve been intimately involved in for at least a decade.
If you’re a Pharmacist in England and you would like me to use my skills, experience and expertise to help keep the pharmacy profession “alive and kicking” (but not with simple minds), join the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and give me thumbs up 😉
Asim Mirza is a pharmacist, business consultant, tech enthusiast and RPS English board candidate.