A senior care pharmacy mostly targets elderly living communities through personalized consulting and pharmacy services. With the senior care market a $740 billion industry today, it also means that the senior care pharmacy market is a similarly lucrative one. And as is the case with any profitable market, this one is particularly rife with disruption as technology evolves and elderly patient needs/wants keep on shifting. So what are the trends and innovations in senior care pharmacy today? Buckle up as we talk through some of the biggest ones that have rocked the scene this year.
1 . Compounding medication is taking off
Seniors tend to average a higher pill count than the rest of the population. Research by Lown Institute places estimates at least 4 pills per day, for 40% of elderly individuals. For this reason, compounding medication is becoming a fast-developing trend. It helps to merge multiple medications into a single dose and makes life much easier for seniors.
Beyond that, a few reasons why compounding medication is also becoming common placed among seniors is due to it helping to:
- Get around oral problems such as dysphagia
- Make medication more flavorful and palatable
- Enhancing the absorption rate of medication
- Make medication safer by taking out allergens
Compounding pharmacies such as Bay Life make it easier to address unique health needs and challenges for seniors, ensuring compounding will be the way to go for many years to come.
2 . Nudging compliance with AI
The use cases for artificial intelligence in any niche are endless. When it comes to senior care pharmacy, intelligent technology is making a difference in many huge ways.
Seniors may not be the best at keeping up with medication. This can be down to being burdened with too many drugs or dose times simply slipping the mind. To beat this, some senior care pharmacy services are now turning to AI-driven solutions.
Often infused with remote patient monitoring technology, these systems can notify the patient when they need to take medicine. In case they don’t, it brings the matter to the attention of a caregiver for further intervention.
But that’s not even the best part. Modern AI-driven innovations can also take note of unique lifestyle factors that can affect adherence such as when a senior goes to bed or wakes up. It can then provide the data necessary to create a more suitable routine for the patient to increase the likelihood of adherence.
3. E-prescribing is gaining traction
Physicians don’t always have the best of handwritings more so when it comes to prescriptions. A study by BioMed Central recently revealed that 2 in 10 prescription orders are illegible, contributing to up to a quarter of all medication errors.
illegibility challenges make it all the more difficult for a pharmacist to decipher what the patient needs, hence why E-prescribing solutions such as PrescribeIT are becoming a popular option for senior care pharmacies.
Just as you would fill out a digital form online, E-prescribing allows physicians to enter prescription information into a digital repository. Pharmacists can then access this platform on their end and work off this data to fill out a prescription. The results of this new way of doing business have been:
- Lower turnaround time in terms of when seniors get their prescriptions and when they get them filled
- Better medication accuracy and higher chances of positive health outcomes
- Fewer errors and that means improved patient safety
4 . Compounding for hospice care
This trend is also catching on, more so for patients in palliative or hospice care. Families with seniors requiring end-of-life care are also seeking compounding solutions as a better way of managing their loved one’s condition. Just to paint a picture, an NIH report finds that over 33% of hospice prescriptions are compounded.
Hospice compounding is gaining popularity for several reasons. Top of the list is the ability to formulate medication into specialized forms such as suckers, sprays, and gels. Additionally, families are turning to hospice compounding to address unique needs that come with hospice such as bed sores or wounds, appetite loss, nausea, and more.
Crucially, this branch of senior care pharmacy helps to personalize solutions to soothe pain, and overall ensure dignity and comfort for seniors at this stage of their lives. It is no wonder why more and more families are seeking hospice compounding solutions for their loved ones.
5 . Special packaging to keep seniors on track
Treatment nonadherence continues to be a thorn in the foot for senior communities. Little innovation solutions are helping to turn the tide, keeping the elderly on their dosages and ensuring proper adherence.
Breaking away from the shackles of vials and other conventional packaging that does compliance no good, senior care pharmacies such as Bay Life are leveraging special packaging. Here’s how it all works:
- Pills are sorted by time and day to be taken
- These dose packages have slots for days of the month
- Seniors or caregivers simply punch out the stipulated dose
Ultimately, this creative solution has ensured seniors don’t resort to pill counting and can instead rely on the special packaging for a reminder of their next dose. It’s a simple but highly effective bit of human ingenuity.
6 . Using automation for drug dispensation
Distance can also be an issue for senior care pharmacies that provide doorstep delivery. In cases where facilities are serving dozens of communities, the huge patient load can mean lots of manpower and budget to handle deliveries.
To beat these issues, some players are now leveraging the power of innovation for drug sorting, packaging, and dispensation. Pharmacies are partnering with drone services to deliver orders right to care facilities.
Once the pharmacy receives the order, they locate the supplies, perform compounding and the drone handles the delivery once the order is ready. Some automation systems are even linked to platforms that allow communities to track the status of their orders.
Senior care pharmacy is changing for the better
From drones dispatching prescription orders to E-prescribing and pharmacy compounding, there are quite a number of trends and innovations taking root in the senior care pharmacy industry. We’re bound to notice even more disruptions in the coming years as human creativity and technology push new boundaries. To stay ahead of all the happenings in the senior care pharmacy field, be sure to regularly check in on the Bay Life Pharmacy blog so you never miss a beat.