A UK pharmacy chain is using digi.me’s private sharing app to help its patients take more control over their health data.
The importance of pharmacies in managing health and wellbeing is increasing as burgeoning costs and resource pressures continue to pile pressure on the NHS. A pillar of local communities, pharmacies are often open longer hours, which makes them very accessible to patients.
Combining this with user-driven desire for more control over health management, plus higher expectations fuelled by digital and on-demand lives generally, pharmacies are well-placed to support and work more closely with patients.
The Wellbeing Pharmacies chain has been adopting technology such as that provided by “Medpoint”, an automated medicine collection machine. Medpoint is being integrated with Acorn, a new digital platform designed to support patients managing long-term medication while also enabling pharmacies to adapt their businesses to meet the challenges of the digital age.
Using digital technology, Acorn wants to build on already strong relationships between pharmacies and their patients to enhance services, communication and convenience. Its goal is to add value for both patients and pharmacy operators through technology.
By working with these and other technologies, Wellbeing Pharmacies plans to offer enhanced services such as 24/7 prescription collection from Medpoint-enabled branches.
Acorn believes that pharmacies have a much wider role to play working with people to help them understand their health and wellbeing, enabling them to make informed decisions about their care as well as supporting their choices.
To enable its vision, Acorn has been working with digi.me to enable its pharmacy platform to access consented rich longitudinal data directly from individuals. This includes NHS GP records which individuals can explicitly download and consent to share with the Acorn platform, using digi.me’s private sharing app.
Acorn recently held a workshop exploring how the app could work with patients from one of its pharmacies, exploring how it could be used in pharmacies, as well as potentially expanded further afield and to other pharmacy providers, given digi.me’s access to health record systems across the world, including in the US.
Mark Hedley, Acorn Director, said: “As a pharmacy operator we recognised the need to modernise and provide our customers with the sort of service they have not only come to expect from other service providers, but that they in fact deserve in this technological world.
“With Acorn we have created a health tech start-up business that will provide products and services not just for Wellbeing Pharmacies, but for all pharmacy operators. Enhancing and driving their businesses, along with their patient’s wellbeing experiences, into the future.”
Acorn has been working with digi.me, along with their development partner Bad Dinosaur, to create a innovative and scalable app to test in the market, initially focusing on the management of medication.
Bad Dinosaur works collaboratively with clients to translate their ideas into real world solutions, and has worked with Acorn and digi.me from the outset to bring together a range of modern and emerging technologies.
Russ Peterson, Director at Bad Dinosaur, said: “Acorn’s willingness to adapt to emerging technologies, such as progressive web applications, has enabled us to move quickly while resulting in a stable and feature-rich product within a relatively short amount of time.
“Digi.me’s Private Sharing SDK also significantly reduced the overhead of integrating with medical record data, enabling us to safely and securely consume data from multiple sources with a single integration. This strong foundation will, in time, enable Acorn to scale globally without technical barriers.”
Acorn is continuing to test its app with patients and live data, and expects to release the app shortly.
The development journey has been accelerated by the fact that, instead of having to work with and integrate with each major GP records system in turn, Acorn was able to go direct to individuals, thanks to digi.me.
As digi.me continues its expansion into Europe and further afield, Acorn will be able to expand its potential footprint with no additional technical integration.
This is particularly good news for innovators and investors keen to see their solutions working in market and focusing on the value proposition.