E-prescriptions and the resulting changes are already part of the everyday life of pharmacies.
The basic procedures have not changed though: the customer arrives at the pharmacy and the prescription data is checked, on the basis of which the medicine is dispensed for the customer together with the dosage instructions. However, compared with paper prescriptions, e-prescriptions have speeded up the dispensing procedure and the customer service process, says Customer Service Manager Mikko Käenmäki at the University Pharmacy.
“Based on feedback, customers are also happy with the other options introduced by the new e-services, such as requesting a repeat prescription and printing out a prescription summary via My Kanta Pages. Previously, if you lost your prescription, it really was lost. These days everything is safe in one place.”
"Customers are happy with the options introduced by the new e-services", says Mikko Käenmäki.
When all of the customer’s prescriptions are found in one place, it also improves medication safety and the monitoring of drug interactions. The names of difficult medicinal products will definitely be correct as the pharmacist or dispenser will see them directly in the Prescription Centre in the Kanta Services. Furthermore, there are fewer forged prescriptions and inadvertent typing or interpretation errors. Generally, the process has become smoother and the customers have also become used to the e-service.
These days there are an increasing number of users, with many people monitoring their own medication via My Kanta Pages.
“E-prescriptions became mandatory in 2017, and in the initial stage the customers had a lot of questions and needed to get used to the new system. At the time, My Kanta Pages was not such a familiar system for everyone, but these days there are an increasing number of users, with many people monitoring their own medication that way,” Käenmäki says.
Processes are in place for potential disruptions
Naturally, e-prescriptions have also presented various challenges, such as technical glitches related to the systems. These problems were more common a couple of years ago, but the pharmacies have been issued with instructions in case of fault situations, and there are local incident management processes based on the instructions. If there are any technical problems in the Kanta Services and the pharmacy is unable to dispense prescriptions through the Prescription Centre, the processes will help the pharmacy to dispense the customer’s required medicines in other ways.
“Faults are understandable when operating in an electronic world. We have learned to live with them, and no critical medicines have ever been left undispensed due to a technical fault.”
Partnership pharmacy network gives first-hand information
The partnership pharmacy network is a cooperation forum between pharmacies and Kela, and it has been in operation for a couple of years. The network’s operations include a few Skype meetings per year and also contacts between Kanta and the pharmacies by email or telephone, when necessary. The partnership pharmacy network is useful especially in fault situations.
“The Kanta Services receive first-hand information from pharmacies this way. If the system is flagging up a problem at the Kanta end of the system, the pharmacies can tell whether the problem is showing at the pharmacy counter and what happens during a dispensing event,” Käenmäki explains.
Information about disruptions is also provided on the Kanta.fi website and by email. According to Käenmäki, the cooperation is of great benefit to the University Pharmacy as it is able to guide and inform its branches depending on the extent of disruption. In addition to fault situations, the partnership pharmacy network also carries out more general cooperation.
“In Skype meetings, pharmacies are able to put questions to Kela also in relation to other matters. In the meetings, Kela can also inform pharmacies about any future changes, for example, in relation to the guidelines.”