Digital strategy

What does today’s digital pharmacy look like? – An analysis by OneDoc

Published on 05/02/2024

The digital pharmacy today

Table of content

The pharmacy is more than just a place to dispense medicines, it’s the first place patients go when they have health needs or questions. And we’re not the ones saying it, but pharmaSuisse. With its qualified and reassuring staff, the pharmacy is an essential part of the Swiss healthcare system, and has been for many years. But what are the current challenges facing the profession? What impact is digital technology having on pharmacies?

Let’s take a brief look at the history of the profession. From the very beginning, the pharmacist had well-defined tasks: they were responsible for the manufacture, analysis, control and distribution of medicines. They also played an important role in scientific research. However, the development of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry at the end of the 19th century transformed the role of the pharmacist. Their role changed from that of craftsman to that of specialist advisor.


Today’s pharmacy market

The Swiss healthcare system is currently divided between hospitals, practices (both medical and therapeutic), and pharmacies. In 2023, 1,839 pharmacies could be found across the Swiss landscape, handling an average of over 300,000 contacts a day. This last figure makes pharmacies the first point of contact for patients in healthcare matters.

The Swiss pharmacy market has changed considerably since its early days. A large proportion of establishments, around 60%, have joined forces to form groups (TopPharm, Rotpunk Apotheken, Pharmacieplus, SpazioSalute, Salveo, OFAC, etc.). Being brought together in this way enables them to manage the establishment independently. The other part is made up of large chains such as Galenica, which owns Amavita, or Medbase.


Today’s pharmacist

To meet the changing needs of patients, pharmacists have had to reinvent themselves. In addition to being reassuring and empathetic, they need to be at ease in all their activities in order to perfectly perform all the services that a pharmacy can offer: magistral preparation, advice, expert anamnesis for patient triage, administration, prevention, patient follow-up, allocating vaccines, carrying out various tests, and so on.

Faced with all the tasks a pharmacist has to take on, it’s easy to become overloaded. However, thanks to new technologies, it is now possible to organize the pharmacy schedule more efficiently. Indeed, pharmacy consultations can be carried out both on site and by teleconsultation. This allows patients to book their own consultations via the pharmacy’s website or OneDoc. Finally, administration and accessibility are simplified.


Being present online

Being present online is one of the new challenges facing today’s pharmacy. By being online, the pharmacy can offer a complete experience to its patients, and can also intervene at an early stage in the patient’s journey, such as the search for a pharmacy or for information. This requires good visibility, which can be difficult to achieve.

A digital presence is an excellent way to promote your pharmacy and its expertise. Directly informing patients about medications, offers and services will help them find the pharmacy they’re looking for. In 2024, patients want to be able to access a complete experience, and part of that experience takes place first on the Internet, then in the pharmacy.



Source: Fakten und Zahlen der Schweizer Apotheken 2023

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