UK’s first paperless pharmacy hails time-saving software developed by Bristol healthtech pioneer

March 25, 2021

Pioneering technology developed in Bristol by specialist software firm Invatech Health has created the UK’s first paperless pharmacy – saving its owner up to seven hours a day previously spent manually checking prescriptions.

Khizer Qureshi, who owns Foxhill Pharmacy in Sheffield, last month processed 16,000 prescriptions on Invatech’s completely cloud-based system – an unparalleled move in a sector heavily reliant on paper and striving to catch up with the digital revolution sweeping the NHS. 

Easton-based Invatech’s cutting-edge pharmacy software Titan has been shaking up the pharmacy sector over the past year since it became the first Patient Medication Record (PMR) system to receive accreditation from the NHS in more than a decade.

Previously, PMR technology in the pharmacy sector had changed very little since the 1990s. The lack of cloud-based systems or use of Application Program Interfaces (APIs) meant that there was not much scope for these types of innovations.

While Titan improves pharmacy workflows and dispensing safety through its barcode technology, crucially, it also aims to free up pharmacists’ time, enabling them to focus on newly-commissioned patient services designed to relieve the burden from under-pressure GPs and the wider NHS.

For Khizer, who has run pharmacies since 2008, the time saved by not having to manually check prescriptions can be spent consulting with patients and focusing on developing his eight-strong chain of pharmacies across Sheffield.

He said: “We’ve been getting really busy recently and without a PMR which could keep up, things were getting a bit chaotic, with prescriptions and paper filling up the shelves.

“Since we implemented Titan last year it’s changed completely. We’re still super busy but now we’re also super organised, free-flowing and with staff who are more engaged in the business. 

“We’re totally fee of clutter and, in addition, I have options of how to spend my time, rather than taking six or seven hours a day checking pill boxes.

“I can develop my services – Medicine Use Reviews, the Covid clinic, giving flu vaccinations under no time pressure – as well as focusing on the financials and growing the business through improvements and efficiencies.

“Titan is the only PMR which could possibly create a paperless pharmacy and I understand we’re the first to achieve the landmark, so it’s a great moment for us.”

With the government seeking to introduce electronic prescribing into the NHS by 2024 to improve efficiency and cut medication errors, investment in electronic tools for GP practices has simply shifted the burden of paper from doctors to community pharmacists.

Titan has already taken 2% market share, processing more than 1.5m prescriptions a month across numerous customer sites in England and Wales.

In January Invatech received £2.2m from the government’s innovation agency Innovate UK to further develop its software.

Invatech CEO Tariq Muhammad, pictured, said: “It’s brilliant to see how Khizer has adopted Titan into his business and the fact that it’s created the UK’s first paperless pharmacy is a real triumph. We’re delighted, and I hope other pharmacists will take note and follow his example.

“Overall, we’re delighted with the progress that Titan has made, commercially and operationally, over the past two years. We have taken an idea and built something which is helping independent pharmacy businesses and large scale operators alike.

“Titan is the ‘how’ to the problem that everyone in our sector recognises. It can help to deliver the vision that everyone wants, while bringing benefits across the NHS and the health sector.

“Releasing pharmacists time is fundamental if we want them to, for example, help deliver the national vaccination programme.

“With 5,000 independent and small group pharmacists in England and Wales, alongside the larger corporates, the commercial potential for Titan is massive. We’re fundamentally different to all other PMRs and are offering a new way of life for pharmacists and a new way of doing things.”

Last month Invatech announced Titan was being used to set up a new distribution service to dispense animal prescriptions issued by vets across the UK.

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