• ePrescribing
  • ATM pharmacy will help South Africa achieve its 90-90-90 goals

    Over 7.1 million people in South Africa (SA) are living with HIV.  This is the largest epidemic of HIV in the world.  The country has the world’s largest ART programme, which helps towards achieving 90-90-90 targets.

    Also helping to achieve targets is an innovative Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU), developed by Right To Care in collaboration with Gauteng Department of Health.  The PDU works like an ATM for medication; tele-pharmacists, cloud based electronic software and robotic technology combine to enable medication dispensing.

    This pioneering solution allows patients to quickly and conveniently collect their repeat prescriptions at various community shopping centres where it is being piloted.  It’s even online over weekends and public holidays so that patients can collect medications at their convenience.  Patients are also offered service in all eleven languages and there is a support site to help understand the technology for first time users. 

    The PDU system which is run by qualified pharmacists and pharmacy assistants integrates with the clinical management of patients with chronic conditions at public facilities. It also supports adherence.  Medication receipts indicate the date for the next collection and patients even receive collection reminders by SMS.  If a patient collects their medication late, they are flagged for follow-up at the facility. 

    This ATM-like approach to dispensing medication demonstrates innovative thinking to overcome challenges in ensuring people stay on HIV treatment or treatment for other chronic illnesses.

  • Kenya’s mHealth standards set SMS and ePrescribing practices

    Using SMS for health and healthcare’s an expanding initiative in Africa. Kenya’s Ministry of Health has set out a rigorous set of standards for it, and ePrescribing, in Kenya Standards and Guidelines for mHealth Systems. 

    As an effective communication tool for health in low-income countries, SMS need regulation and cyber-security standards that minimise the risk of privacy and confidentiality breaches. This extends across several activities. Kenya’s standards include:

    Risks of Personal Health Information (PHI) in SMSsStandards for text messages, including device selections, risk assessments, development practices and trainingPHI security guidelinesRisk management strategy, including password confidentiality and encryption.

    Standards for telephone and eConusltations deal with devices such as Interactive Voice and Video and Response (IVVR), mobile phones, teleconferencing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP. It includes SMSs too. The themes are:

    Good medical practices, duties and responsibilitiesGuidelines for using eHealth and ICT to provide healthcareWhat to do in emergency situations. 

    ePrescribing extends from completing prescriptions, through delivery to pharmcists and on to dispensing to patients. Its goals include better quality healthcare, patient safety, accuracy and continuing care. The standards deal with:

    How to use ePrescribing, including patient choiceAuthenticating ePrescriptionsDelivering ePrescribed drugs and medications and the role of pharmacistsePrescribing data sets that include:

    o   Minimum patient demographics

    o   Prescription identifiers

    o   Product identification.

    While addressing current eHealth requirements, these standards lay a foundation for eHealth’s future scale and direction. It’s an opportunity to move eHealth regulation closer to project implementations, especially for ePrescribing.