Did you know that approximately 50% of all patients fail to take their medicine correctly, which has led to an average of 328,000 deaths per year in Europe and in the USA? This means that annually, in Europe alone there are avoidable costs of up to €125 billion due to poor adherence to medicine instructions.

The responsibility for the proper use of medicines unavoidably falls on the shoulders of doctors who prescribe them, and pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who dispense them.

Errors usually occur due to poor communication, and patient misuse because of a lack of understanding of the drug they need to take. For instance, up to 25% of failures occur due to product name confusion, and 33% due to packaging and labeling confusion. Importantly, these adverse events are preventable.

The responsibility for the proper use of medicines unavoidably falls on the shoulders of doctors who prescribe them, and pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who dispense them.

The role of pharmacists has evolved

Furthermore, the role of pharmacists has greatly evolved, as they have been seeking to redefine themselves within the healthcare environment. They have an active role in their communities and advise patients about the products that they have been prescribed. They are consistently named among the most trusted members of the health industry and work more face-to-face with customers more than ever. Their work depends on obtaining the correct information in order to better advise patients, and reduce the possibilities of adverse  events with medicines.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians continuously offer guidance to the public within the communities in which they work. And as good solutions are usually directly related to the root of the cause, it would make sense that continuous training can ensure that the information pharmacists and technicians have and transmit to patients is correct and current.

Only then can they, in turn, educate and motivate patients about medications and new innovations.

Digitalization helps with the information flow of the most recent and accurate data about medicines

Support through professional education is vital for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to  do their work properly, and they need access to the most recent and accurate data about the products they prescribe and dispense.

The usual practice of information flow about new medications is mostly via sales representatives from pharmaceutical companies who visit pharmacies. Still, they often do not have the opportunity to properly educate the relevant people in a pharmacy about medicines as 33% of them are not available or the visits conflict with other activities.

An up-to-date solution to help with better adoption of new products is digitalization and the use of online tools. With these  we can improve the workflow of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, improve the flow of information between pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies, and contribute to more sustainable medicine consumption.

We hear a lot about digitalization nowadays, but it’s important to note that good practices (and only efficient ones, actually) take into account good distribution tactics and platforms as well as mediums with relevant content and notable user engagement.

Investment in knowledge still pays the best interest

Benjamin Franklin was right – “Investment in knowledge does pay the best interest” and this hasn’t changed in the digital era. New knowledge and experience plays a vital part in everything we do and helps us make better decisions.

With the increased presence of  digitalization, e-learning is also an effective approach for  pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy professionals to exchange information and data. This has already been recognized by several  highly successful platforms, such as: CIG Healthcare Partnership, Bedrock Medical Communications, and The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE), to name but a few.

Doctrina allows pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to access new knowledge in short interactive video course formats, available 24 /7 as cloud-based training.

Since it is always best to speak from experience, this article will focus on Doctrina’s innovative e-learning solution and approach. The platform allows pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to access short interactive video courses, available 24 /7 as cloud-based training. The content is professional and relevant, with up-to-date information about medical products and other pharmaceutical innovations . The published content is produced in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies and ensures complete transparency with regard to feedback on their medicines. Once the end-users received the educational material and viewed it, they have  to validate their knowledge with a test. Further two-way communication is also made possible between representatives of pharma companies and users through the comments section. This enables a barrier-free communication channel between these two sectors, helping the community to evolve. Our users also have the opportunity to co-create and share educational materials that can  be consumed by other users.  All published content is evaluated by the Net Promoter Score (NPS) Methodology which  produces a very clear picture of course performance, content, and relevance. After all, patients deserve the best advice.

1. https://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/new-prescription-drugs-major-health-risk-few-offsetting-advantages

2. http://www.pgeu.eu/en/policy/5-adherence.html

3. Source: Aspden P, et al. Cronenwett editors. Preventing medication errors. Washington DC: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies; 2006

4. The data is based on  research Doctrina conducted in June and July of 2017 among CEOs, managers and sales representatives employed in top international pharma companies. 9 of the 10 leading international pharma companies participated in the survey. Altogether more than 73 responses were gathered.