Feature Article

Pharmacies as the Point of Care Nexus

 

As the PDT team compiled a trend report focused on design, technology and market trends in the Point of Care (POCT) space, we came across a staggering statistic: according to the Department of Health and Human Services, there are 13 billion pharmacy visits annually in the United States, compared with only 470 million visits to physicians.

 

So what does this mean for the future of Point of Care (POC) testing and diagnostics? Simply put, pharmacists interact with patients exponentially more than doctors, which is likely why pharmacies like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens are clamoring to figure out how to capitalize on new technology and legislation to expand their role in healthcare.

 

A little history

This shift really started to gain traction back in 2000, as CVS began to offer walk-in services permitting customers to meet with a nurse practitioner (under the name QuickMedx). Tests for strep, flu, pregnancy, mono, as well as bladder, ear and sinus infections, could all be performed at the pharmacy, where the patient could then pick up their prescription right after the test. This proved a great bet by the company, as it now claims to have provided medical care to more than 20 million patients via QuickMedx - and the program accounts for more than one in five prescriptions filled in the U.S.

 

So why, as CEO of a device design and development consultancy, do I care about this trend? Because I only see momentum building in this direction, and think that every POC solution provider should be thinking about developing products which capitalize on the opportunity.

 

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Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) SitesAn intriguing example of how the current landscape is evolving, from a device standpoint, can be found at select pharmacies and grocery stores. In 2014, Higi and Stayhealthy partnered to create the world’s largest connected retail health kiosk network. The Higi stations are similar to the familiar blood pressure measurement kiosks that we’ve all seen in malls, pharmacies and grocery stores for decades, but these collect blood pressure, weight, body mass index (BMI) and pulse to calculate a general ‘health score’.  Trends and changes in body stats can then be tracked on a mobile app, featuring rewards and challenges that link users and encourage them to improve their health by competing for higher scores.

 

Following in the footsteps of Higi, Rite Aid recently became the first US drugstore chain to offer Harmonyx genetic testing, which allows patients to determine the effectiveness of their prescriptions for cardiac conditions, cholesterol and attention deficit disorder based on a self-administered oral swab test. Rite Aid pharmacists can then discuss the results with the patient and their doctor, and suggest the best medication choices.

 

Shifting Paradigms

While these new offerings are interesting, the potential for new devices and services in this market can be paradigm shifting. This got our creative team thinking and brainstorming some ideas to leverage this movement. A concept solution for home and for in the pharmacy were ultimately explored.  Both connect data, technology and connectivity to link customers more readily to their local pharmacy for health and wellness services. Click here to view more details for these concepts.

 

Parent Pal

 

Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites

 

Triage Pod

 

Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites

Time will tell as pharmacies and point of care product manufacturers try to capitalize on this trend what the future will hold for patients and health care professionals, but we’re excited to be part of it.

Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites

The Parent Pal is a concept device that monitors baby’s vital signs while he’s in the crib, gathering data, alerting parents to situations that need attention via mobile app and screen on the device, and enabling parents to take action with that app.

The Parent Pal is a concept device that monitors baby’s vital signs while he’s in the crib, gathering data, alerting parents to situations that need attention via mobile app and screen on the device, and enabling parents to take action with that app.

according to the Department of Health and Human Services, there are 13 billion pharmacy visits annually in the United States, compared with only 470 million visits to physicians.
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites

Vitals data is collected in the mobile app. After an alert, the user is given options to read more about what the data might mean, to connect to an online nurse or doctor and to set an appointment for medical help at their local pharmacy.

connecting home to pharmacy

The user can connect to a nurse that can help them make a decision on whether to visit a doctor or to treat with over the counter options first. The nurse can view the data collected and can help the user book an in-pharmacy appointment if needed.

Connects to approved online resources.

Connects to pharmacy website, where goods can be purchased online.

Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
streamlining and adding to pharmacy consultation offerings
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites

The user can schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy.

Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites

Upon arrival at the pharmacy, the customer will find the triage pod.

The app will sync with the pod, including any logged symptoms, recordings of coughs, etc.

 

The pod will collect vitals and the general information typically gathered at the beginning of an appointment, like duration of symptoms, etc.

 

Based on the data gathered, the pod will advise whether to continue to the nurse practitioner or physician on site or the pharmacist for help with an over the counter medication consultation.

Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
Pharmacies as Point of Care Testing (POCT) Sites
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