Scotland is leading the way in the evolution of community pharmacy, making the most of pharmacists’ unique blend of skills, accessibility and place within the community to provide consistent and reliable access to services across the country. With the launch of NHS Pharmacy First Scotland in July, community pharmacists have become the first port-of-call for patients’ routine health concerns. Cegedim delve deeper into what this changing landscape means – and how their strategy is aligning with the sector’s needs.

PMR suppliers have been responding to the requirements essential for the implementation of the new service and in consultations with multiple stakeholders have been busy implementing the necessary changes to ensure that consultations can be carried out effectively and claimed for. While your PMR software may not look any different, changes have been implemented in the background to ensure that you are ready to deliver the new service.

Cegedim have pivoted their strategy in the last 12 months to more closely align their solution to the changing pharmacy landscape. The NHS’s long-term vision for fully integrated community healthcare places pharmacy on the frontline in delivering patient care.

To support their customers Cegedim are committed to the evolution of their industry-leading PMR, Pharmacy Manager, into an intelligent and truly digital solution that not only facilitates day-to-day activity, but works in a smarter way for pharmacy teams.

Cegedim have extended the functionality of Pharmacy Manager to enable pharmacists to carry out their Pharmacy First activity. The development has included additional functionality in two key areas: eligibility verification and support for the new advice, treatment and referral pathways.

Eligibility Checks

NHS Pharmacy First Scotland consultations will take place within the Service Provision area of Pharmacy Manager. Standard consultations will use existing MAS PMR functionality with two major adaptions.

The first is to remove the previous local registration and withdrawal methods and qualifying criteria, allowing the service to be extended and offered to a wider demographic. Cegedim have also implemented a centralised and live eligibility check to indicate if a patient is suitable for a consultation on the scheme.

The eligibility check takes the local PMR record and compares it with the centrally held NHS record, presenting three status options to the pharmacists: eligible, non-eligible or unknown.

If the patient is eligible, the pharmacist can record a dispensing event within Pharmacy Manager, which then presents a confirmation of the endorsement and an option to send the electronic claim for the service provision. If the patient is unknown – because there is no CHI number found in the central register – the pharmacy team can use their own judgement and knowledge with regards to patient demographic and qualifying criteria to decide whether to proceed with the service.

The team at Cegedim have also taken the opportunity to streamline the process, adding one-click journeys to action outstanding reimbursements, unclaimed prescriptions and managed repeats within the Pharmacy Manager dashboard.

Treatment Pathways

Existing functionality within Pharmacy Manager has been modified by enhancing the advice, treatment and referral pathways. For consultations involving PGD – currently Impetigo and UTIs – the pathway now includes the option to give advice or refer a patient to a GP.

Cegedim have taken an iterative approach – in the initial implementation currently available, you can dispense a dummy item – i.e. dispense an advice or dispense a referral. With these options moved into the consultation outcome menu in a later August release.

Future extensions to PGDs will, of course, be supported within Pharmacy Manager and further monthly updates will continue to enhance the PMR to support customers in Scotland – for example, the October product file update will introduce the new Approved Products list. Supporting a Digital Future

As community pharmacy continues to evolve towards a service-based model, PMRs must also evolve – without great technology pharmacies can’t make the transformational changes needed to ensure that they survive and thrive in the future; a future in which the delivery of patient services becomes ever more significant.

An example of this evolution is Pharmacy Manager’s recent integration with MedEpos to ensure that dispensing, advice and referral activity can be undertaken at the counter alongside sales.

In addition to saving space, by avoiding the need for both EPOS and a dedicated PMR screen, pharmacists can conduct the entire conversation with the customer in one place. Many Cegedim customers have already begun using the MedEpos and Pharmacy Manager integration to support in carrying out NHS Pharmacy First Scotland consultations at the pharmacy counter.

Looking ahead, PMRs need to support more than recording consultations and dispensing activity; they need to minimise the administrative burden and release pharmacists to spend more time in community and patient-facing activity. At Cegedim, they plan to extend the key metrics and insight provided within the dashboard, both at individual store and heath office level, to help you prioritise activity and better understand how the new service model is working day-to-day.

Essentially, the PMR has to work in a much smarter way for a pharmacy user and suppliers can only achieve this goal if they walk in your pharmacy shoes and understand your pain points. Collaboration with customers, prospects and key stakeholders including NPA, ATOS, CPS and NHS Scotland is essential, and at Cegedim they are committed to working closely with their pharmacy customers to discover new ways to drive further efficiencies within Pharmacy Manager.