by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Australian Journal of Pharmacy : September 2005
IT platforms Epothecary: a standard bearer for pharmacy Momentum is gathering for national adoption of epothecary—an IT platform that enables consistent maintenance of records and business systems. LISA OFFORD reports HEN the Pharmacy Guild’s Queensland branch president Kos Sclavos talks about linking every single pharmacy in Australia together on the same IT platform, recording and sharing data gathered from all the different point-of-sale systems and standardising them to enable pharmacies to bench- mark their performance, the likelihood of its occurring may not be that far off. However, as with everything that falls under the IT banner, although we have the technology to help pharmacists make huge leaps, implementing programs like the above requires a step-by-step approach. And the first step for pharmacy is to encourage pharmacists to actually use systems that have the potential to grow and improve the overall business of pharmacy. W According to Mr Sclavos, a lot of phar- macists still thought of IT only in terms of the point-of-sale (POS) and dispense sys- tems. ‘What we are trying to do in Queens- land is broaden pharmacists’ views so that it is much wider than just point-of-sale and dispense and procuring stock—you can use it as a true business tool,’ Mr Sclavos said. In revealing future plans for the Guild’s IT platform—epothecary—Mr Sclavos explained pharmacy’s need for solid report- ing and recording systems on both personal business and industry-based levels. ‘A lot of pharmacists don’t understand that the government’s view is if it is not documented, then it doesn’t happen. And so a big awakening for our industry is going to be that for our long-term survival we need to look at recording systems,’ Mr Sclavos said. The Guild launched epothecary. com.au nationally last year. For a yearly fee of $295, members (there are currently around 500 Australia-wide) are provided with access to programs to run many facets of their business online. Project manager Shaun Singleton said that while the foundation of epothecary was to make managing the Quality Care process simpler, the platform was regu- larly updated to assist pharmacists to manage professional and other business aspects of their pharmacy operations. ‘Quality Care is essential for running a [pharmacy] business but quality systems are never going to work unless you can actually incorporate them into the prac- tice,’ Mr Singleton said. ‘Epothecary looks after Quality Care; it is a tool that gives pharmacists reminders on when to look after their standards by giving them lists of things to do,’ Mr Sin- gleton said. ‘It tells you what you need to do, cap- tures the date you do it, captures the name of the person who did the review, if you took any actions you can make notes and then when you are finished you can put it in the archives so that when the assistant comes back in three years you can pull it up and see what you have done,’ he said. Epothecary also enables pharmacists to pay suppliers online, keep online records of all staff, and keep track of performance appraisals. Members can also download and distribute a variety of consumer newsletters and customer satisfaction sur- veys that can be tailored with individual pharmacy details. Mr Sclavos said epothecary provided pharmacists with tools to reduce paper- work, automate time-consuming and complicated processes and, ultimately, improve customer service. ‘Our attitude is you can’t be a good pro- fessional if you can’t run a professional pharmacy. You can have the most pro- fessional pharmacist but if they are work- 742 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.86 SEPTEMBER 2005 ing in a disorganised rabble in the phar- macy, you won’t have business efficiency,’ Mr Sclavos said. Mr Sclavos and Mr Singleton said epothecary was much more than a web- based Quality Care tool. They described it as a network that could link all phar- macies in Australia, where information and data could be shared, collected and collated and used to further community, state and federal pharmacy-based pro- jects. ‘Now that more and more pharmacies are going online I see epothecary as a major portal for pharmacists to come and access information—whether it be any new services that the Guild can deliver, to downloading the latest brochures,’ Mr Singleton said. ‘Some of those services should not incur a charge, so all the sorts of things we want to provide to pharmacists free, will be available under what we are calling our Community Suite,’ Mr Singleton said. The first project to be launched through epothecary’s Community Suite will be a pseudoephedrine reporting tool which will be rolled out to all pharmacists in Queensland free of charge before the end of the year. ‘We have been working with the Queensland Department of Health and police department on a project where pharmacists will be able to report suspi- cious sales electronically,’ Mr Sclavos said. ‘If the pharmacist knows there is a sus- picious sale they just log on and once they fill in the required details, the form is lodged directly to the police where it is allocated a job number. ‘The police will be able to receive infor- mation around the clock, even when the police lines are not manned, and phar- macists will at least get some acknowledg-