Utilize the potential of pharmacies

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Our healthcare system needs a change in mindset – away from a predominantly physician-centric focus to a look at the ‘big picture’ and the non-medical area. The need for change is great. The additional supply potential of the pharmacies – from technical expertise to the spatial and digital infrastructure. Pharmacies can fill significant gaps in healthcare.

In Austria, more than 7,000 pharmacists personally ensure that people are safely supplied with medicines and a wide range of healthcare services every day. More than 1,450 public pharmacies, evenly and widely distributed, guarantee fair, unbureaucratic healthcare close to home. For 500,000 people per day. Around the clock. No closing times due to holidays or illness.

Integration of pharmacies between the digital and outpatient contact point
According to the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists, the motto ‘digital, first outpatient, first inpatient’, which was issued during the healthcare reform, did not sufficiently take into account non-medical healthcare professions. The more than 1,450 pharmacies throughout Austria want and can make an important contribution to the planned reorganization of patient flow management. Pharmacists already refer people to doctors and hospitals if necessary.

In many cases, care starts in the community pharmacy. They are primary health contact and advice centers and competent guides in the healthcare system. The integration of pharmacies between the digital and the outpatient clinic contact point would be optimal. Patients who seek advice from the pharmacy around the corner can be redirected or referred to telemedicine platforms. The latter would be a great help to those affected, especially during off-peak hours.

Consider telemedicine positions
According to the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists, when tendering for 100 new cash register points, 99 plus a telemedicine point should be implemented and further pilot projects in the field of telemedical advice should be considered. In France, for example, there are booths in pharmacies where patients can virtually contact a doctor. If necessary, they will then provide an electronic prescription and those involved can take their medicines with them immediately.

Source: Krone

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