Irish pharmaceutical software company, Systems Solutions Limited, has incorporated SMS text messages, e-mails and direct mail functionality into its QicScript dispensary system.

System Solutions says the software is a first that will allow pharmacists to communicate with their patients easily using their preferred method of communication, choosing between text messages, email or letters.

The system works by the pharmacist scanning the prescription and asking the patient how they would like to know when their medicine is ready, and recording this. When the medicine is dispensed and ready for collection, a message is automatically sent out, using their preferred method.

The most innovative option for patients is the use of SMS text messaging, which allows the pharmacist to contact the customer instantly to let them know they can pick up their medication when they are ready.

A spokesperson from System Solutions told EHI: “We came up with the idea when we were thinking of ways to help pharmacists communicate with their customers better. This method is cheap, effective and quick.”

Founding technical director of System Solutions, David Raethorne said: “SMS text messaging supports the fundamental tenets for the transfer of health information through the privacy, confidentiality and direct communication that it affords.”

The updated QicScript system has been available since August and Systems Solutions hope this new technology will help customers cement relationships with their local pharmacies, ahead of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) phase 2, when surgeries ask patients to nominate the pharmacist they want to collect their prescription from.

The spokesperson told EHI: “We wanted a way to get people back into the pharmacy, and help our clients meet their patient quota, especially in light of the pending EPS 2 phase when patients will be made to choose. It’s especially important for patients who need Medicines Use Review for their conditions.

“A quick simple text, email or letter is a great way to remind patients to return to the pharmacy for their medication, health information and advice.”

The Dublin-based firm claim pharmacists can broaden the scope of their customer base by engaging directly with them and targeting them for regular health checks, reminders, information and advice using the SMS service.

“When patients feel they are getting value added services from their pharmacy, they will freely nominate it as the pharmacy they want all future prescriptions to be sent to,” Raethorne said.