Latest Thinking

3 ways technology is helping us manage our prescriptions

July 24, 2017

Marie-Claire Charlton Marie-Claire Charlton
Marketing & Communications Manager
TELUS Health

Technology is everywhere and has changed how we communicate, work, learn and relax. It is also changing the way we manage our health. Technology is at the hospital, in our doctors’ offices and it’s also right inside most Canadian pharmacies.

Pharmacy technology helps 42,000 Canadian pharmacists fill over 600 million prescriptions each year, and ensure the right prescriptions are filled for the right conditions at the right time. Pharmacists are no strangers to leveraging technology to help them work, but did you know that technologies also exist to help us better manage our own health when it comes to prescriptions?

Here are three ways technology can help you manage your prescriptions.

1) Skip the lineup and renew your prescriptions online

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In many Canadian pharmacies, you can sign up for an online service that allows you to easily renew your prescriptions each month. It will even remind you to renew so you don’t forget. So there’s one hassle out of the way, not to mention the impulse pharmacy purchases that tend to happen while waiting for prescriptions to be filled.

My pharmacy will even deliver my prescriptions right to my door. I never thought that my local pharmacy could offer the same convenience as Amazon.

2) Manage your family members’ prescriptions

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Having a sick loved one is difficult – it comes with stress and its own to-do list.

You can manage your family members’ prescriptions directly from your phone or tablet. By signing up with your pharmacy’s online service, you can manage the prescriptions of family members under your care as well as your own medication in a single place.

Managing your family members’ prescriptions not only helps coordinate your trips to the pharmacy, but the extra visibility can relieve stress related to your loved one’s illness.

3) Have better visibility on your prescriptions

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And this translates to an increased control on your health.

In the past, we were encouraged to surrender decision making around our health to our doctor and the healthcare system. But with our family doctors becoming less easily accessible, we as patients are using tools to help us prevent illness, we are seeking more alternative treatments, and we are taking more ownership of our own health by educating ourselves and ensuring the care we are receiving is not only right for our condition but also complements our values and lifestyle.

With access to your pharmacy profile, you can:

  • receive refill reminders and renew prescriptions online
  • set up automated refills for long-term, non-changing prescriptions
  • check to see how many refills you have left
  • view all of your prescriptions and download the list for doctors’ appointments
  • read the counselling sheets for each prescription
  • download tax receipts

All of this, right from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

And, if you have a family members’ profile linked to yours, you can also do all of these things for them too.

And technology keeps improving…

Today, nearly half of all prescriptions received by pharmacists are handwritten. But this will soon be a thing of the past.

Infoway, Canada’s not-for-profit government funded digital health partner, recently announced that it is developing a national electronic prescribing strategy through a key digital health partnership with TELUS Health.

By mid-2018, we can say goodbye to paper prescriptions. Your physician will send your prescription electronically directly to the pharmacy of your choice. All you’ll need to do is show up and pick it up at the counter. No more checking in with your paper prescription and killing time shopping around the store while you wait for it to be filled.

Another big motivator for electronic prescribing is Canada’s opioid crisis, which has hit so many of our communities. Opioid related deaths reached 2,456 in 2016 and continue to rise. Electronic prescribing is one of the solutions. Once implemented, doctors and pharmacists will have a more holistic view to better control the dispensing of narcotics.

So, next time you need to refill your prescription, ask your pharmacist what digital services they offer to optimize your experience.

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