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Boots will test a private digital pharmacy prescription service as part of a series of digital innovations to be introduced in 2020.
The new service, to be piloted in 20 stores in central London, uses a digital prescription service provided by healthtech Doctor Care Anywhere (DCA) and enables patients to send prescriptions electronically to a Boots Pharmacy right after their consultation.
The company already offers an NHS repeat e-prescriptions service – according to Boots, extending this service to private patients with DCA is “a natural step to further increase accessibility and choice for customers”.
“We know our patients want convenient, simple solutions to manage and take control of their health,” said Richard Bradley, pharmacy director at Boots. “This new service makes for a modern pharmacy experience, using digital technology to seamlessly link GP consultations and prescriptions with our pharmacies.”
With the trial, DCA will become the first provider of private e-prescriptions to Boots UK.
The private e-prescriptions service is described as a secure way to transfer prescriptions to the pharmacy, as they can only be redeemed once. Patients can keep track of prescriptions through their digital patient record with DCA.
In May 2019, Boots appointed Richard Corbridge, a former NHS IT executive, as director of innovation, to lead activities around “reimagining the future of Boots from a customer experience perspective” and leading concept development, design testing and launch planning of new business offerings.
In a recent personal blog post that offered some reflection on the need to “change, adapt and keep moving forward” in the implementation of technology in healthcare, Corbridge noted that “being slow to change is not sustainable” in the sector.
“It is possible to bank online, book holidays online, shop online, and now we are seeing more and more instances of people managing their healthcare online, through online portals and video kiosks. While this is not widespread, it’s the direction technology is moving in, and the expectations of people are quickly following, so why not also use the web to manage our health?” said Corbridge.
Citing the electronic patient record (EPR) business case for Ireland, where citizens will have access to their healthcare data, the executive anticipated the move towards giving patients control over the data on their health could mean an even greater shift for the sector.
“This will, of course, require several changes from all clinicians and healthcare providers involved with healthcare today – but the healthcare system cannot just stop to facilitate this necessary change – the show must go on,” he said.