‘Caring for our community’ has always been the ethos of Abbey Chemist. Through its three pharmacies, employing around 40 people, the family run business is committed to improving every aspect of the patient journey and playing a key role within the community in providing first contact services for patients.
Abbey Chemist was founded by pharmacist Asgher Mohammed in 1986 in Paisley. Two further pharmacies were added, in later years, and Asgher’s son Siraj Mohammed has joined the business as pharmacy director and superintendent. Our community pharmacies have always focused on improving patient care by providing a wide range of services, an approach that is increasingly key to NHS strategy in Scotland as the pharmacy becomes the first point of patient contact.
The new demands facing Community Pharmacy have created additional requirements for robust, reliable and easy to use PMR systems. Abbey Chemist has been using Pharmacy Manager from Cegedim Healthcare Solutions since it was first introduced and, explains Siraj Mohammed, has benefitted from the upgrades, redesign and enhancements that have been delivered over the past few years.
Nearly all of Abbey Chemist’s 40 staff have access to Pharmacy Manager and everyone has found the software easy to use. “With so much change and the increasing demands on community pharmacy, a reliable, user friendly PMR system is essential,” he says.
As a busy chain of pharmacies – one of which is located next door to a Health Centre - Abbey Chemist has also recently taken advantage of the integration of Pharmacy Manager with an electronic point of sale (EPoS) system to provide staff with immediate access to dispensing information from the till. As Siraj Mohammed says, “Allowing front staff to check Pharmacy Manager at the till is so much better for the patient journey. There is no need to leave the patient at the till and go into the back to find an available computer and check the status of the patient’s prescription. The whole workflow can be completed in front of the patient – saving time and improving their experience.”
Siraj estimates the Pharmacy Manager/ EPoS integration saves between five and ten minutes during an average patient interaction, time that has a huge impact on the time each patient has to spend in the pharmacy – with the associated impact on reducing queues.
In addition, the staff member can continue to interact with the patient while checking information on Pharmacy Manager, providing additional opportunities to understand their issues, suggest a product or simply chat. He confirms, “Patients can get frustrated if they are left waiting. Providing access to Pharmacy Manager from the till is a slicker, more efficient process that provides a much better patient experience.
Another improvement that has proved hugely beneficial to the patient experience, especially during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the integration of text messaging with Pharmacy Manager. “Using the text message service to tell people when their prescriptions are ready has improved the patient experience and reduced the number of patients coming to the pharmacy too early. Now they only come in when the prescription is ready, which helps to minimise queues and improves the patient journey,” Siraj says.
With Scotland still running a mix of paper and electronic prescription, he confirms Pharmacy Manager can easily support this hybrid system – even accepting barcode numbers when a GP decides to telephone the pharmacy with a prescription. “However the prescription is received, the process is easy to manage, clear and concise,” he says.
As Community Pharmacists take an ever increasing role in providing first contact support for patients throughout Scotland, the demands on the PMR have continued to expand. The huge push in Scotland for the Minor Ailment service, with the NHS remunerating pharmacies for consultations as well as products, is a key example. With so many different services available – from UTIs to gluten-free advice – pharmacists now have to record a lot of information both to ensure they are remunerated and provide information to a patient’s GP.
Siraj Mohammed says, “You need a quick, efficient way to record information and process the service – especially when you don’t have much time. Pharmacy Manager lets you record these consultations easily, ensuring we receive the remuneration as well as quickly providing information to the GP.”