This post was contributed by Oracle's Director of Cloud PR & Communications, EMEA & JAPAC, Rebecca English.
A person might see hundreds of healthcare providers throughout their lifetime. And with each provider, patient data continues to spread across hundreds of different IT systems and databases. These legacy systems often have limited capabilities for sharing and for integration. As a result, key information related to a patient’s health and symptoms may not be readily available when it's needed.
Adelaide-based healthcare provider National Pharmacies is determined to change this model.
The company owns and operates 80 plus pharmacies and optical specialist stores across southern Australia. And while it might be more than 100 years old, National Pharmacies is taking a modern approach to creating a data-driven patient experience.
According to National Pharmacies’ corporate executive general manager Ryan Klose, by bringing different sources of data together, better outcomes can be created for patients.
“To be healthy allows us to enjoy the luxuries in life – and that is our mission at National Pharmacies. By pulling all the fragmented data together across their different interactions, that’s when the dots start to join,” says Klose. “This means that when a patient goes to see a healthcare professional at any time, that doctor or specialist or whoever, subject to authorizations, has all of the data at their fingertips and can make an informed decision.”
But to have that single view, in real time, isn’t easy. For a start, transactions are processed on average every two minutes from the pharmacies. Additionally, one of the key issues in healthcare is the fact that many systems are legacy systems and difficult to tie together.
This task has been made significantly easier through National Pharmacies’ adoption of Oracle’s Autonomous Transaction Processing. The database service is being used to stream data securely from the Point of Sale systems from its many different stores into one repository to form a complete picture of each patient at any moment in time. As well as transaction data, it can also bring in information regarding products, or even external factors such as weather.
From a patient health perspective, this means staff can make better recommendations on treatments based on prior purchases, reactions and experience, leading to better health outcomes. And this data can be accessed from a handheld device, this enables staff members to stay with the patient throughout the entire consulting process.
“And for the patient, if they want to go online to check their previous transaction at any time, it will be there instantly for them.”
“Ultimately what we are looking to do is ensure we are providing the best customer experience, and as part of that, have the right product on the right shelf at the right time,” Klose says. “So if any of our patients walk into a store, the product they may be looking for is there and available.”
An additional benefit, Klose says is because the autonomous technology has proven so easy to use, and much of the work takes places with minimal human intervention, it is also freeing up the time of National Pharmacies’ technology professionals to work on higher-value tasks.
“Our DBAs or data people are often caught up working on platform technologies,” Klose says. “For us to lift them to the frontline, where they can use that expertise and skills to work on intelligence and knowledge distribution, is going to be key for us and is going to allow us to future-proof our organization. As an IT group, it means we can really be there for every revenue and profit opportunity for the organization.”
By freeing up resources, this will enable National Pharmacies to more quickly draw benefit from its existing use of emerging chatbot, mobile, online, and social technologies to support better patient outcomes.
“The challenge - and opportunity - we are seeing in all of these emerging technologies is data,” Klose says. “It really is exploding everywhere. To be able to harness that data, or even bring that data together in one area to create informed intelligence is going to help us bring a level of service to our patients that our competition will need to catch up to.”
And Klose believes this capability will become more important still as customer expectations continue to rise.
“Consumers are asking for the same experience they have been enjoying in retail or other industries. People are now expecting this in healthcare, so having the right technologies is paramount. Whether they are talking to Alexa or a chatbot on the phone, or they are talking to a human being, all these interactions are just different channels,” Klose says. “So for all these technologies, ultimately it is the data that really brings that true digital experience forward."
Oracle Autonomous Database helps customers accelerate time to innovation, time to market, and time to insights. By eliminating manual operational tasks, this enables resources to see the signals and adapt faster. Our customers can harness the abundance of data to gain predictive insights into their businesses and ultimately drive better outcomes for their customers.