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TELUS Health: Enhancing Medication Management with TELUS Health Pharma Space

TELUS Health Pharma Space Gives Patients Digital Access to Health Information

TELUS Health’s Pharma Space solution received the finalist distinction at the 2014 Ingenious Awards. Get your nomination in now for the 2015 awards by July 17.

TELUS Health has been active in pharmacies across Canada for many years now, starting 20 years ago with the technology that allows pharmacists to instantly charge medications to a drug plan. For the last two years, TELUS has deployed its Pharma Space solution in 70% of all pharmacies in Quebec and independent pharmacies in the rest of Canada. Pharma Space gives a pharmacy’s patients online access to medication information, allows them to order refills, and have their prescription information ready to go on their smartphone for any medical appointment. And patients are using it –patients in Quebec on the program have renewed 4 million prescriptions over the last two years.

Pharma Space was created to address empowerment for patients by giving them access to their medication information. Pharmacists are the first point of contact for many patients seeking help, in many cases more so than physicians. Pharma Space was designed to make these accessible health care providers even more accessible, empower patients, and to address the very real problem of proper medication management.

Medication Management – a significant Canadian health care problem

Up to 50% of Canadians don’t take medication properly and close to 30% of all prescriptions written are not being filled. Pharma Space helps to address this issue by engaging patients with information about the medications they have been prescribed. A digital platform also eliminates the possibility of errors in reading prescriptions; pharmacists may be more easily able to understand your doctor’s illegible shorthand, but mistakes can still happen with medication instructions, doses and types of medication when one is relying on pen and paper to get the job done. Up to 40% of all handwritten prescriptions have errors. If a pharmacist could eliminate the churn of having to correct these, they could turn their attention to other areas where patients need help.

TELUS Health ran a survey with Diabetes Quebec in 2014 where they surveyed citizens in Quebec about their interest in engaging in health care through the use of IT tools. Connecting with their pharmacist was one of the top drivers of why they would start using IT tools. The survey results showed that the majority of Quebecers want health service providers to join the digital age.

  • 80% of respondents wanted access to medication records
  • 80% wanted personalized information
  • 80% wanted the ability to share records with other health care professionals

A separate family module allows caregivers access to the medication information of family members or others under their care, ensuring that caregivers are also educated on the medications that their charges should be receiving, and giving them the tools they need to renew medications for patients who may be unable to do it themselves.

TELUS uniquely positioned to roll out Pharma Space to rest of Canada

After the success Pharma Space has seen in Quebec, it hopefully won’t be long before all Canadians can have the same kind of access as Quebecers do to their medication information. The main challenge TELUS Health faces is to get the larger national chains on board, which is difficult to do from an operational standpoint, but TELUS has a unique advantage in being one of Canada’s largest technology providers, with experience in deploying enterprise-class applications. With a nationwide network and its own award-winning Internet data centres which safely store records within Canada to comply with most data privacy regulations, TELUS is well-equipped to provide large-scale healthcare technology solutions.

Dealing with the issue of medication management with technology recently earned TELUS Health a Mercure award in the Innovation category at the Mercuriades. Organized by the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the Mercuriades are Quebec’s top honours in awards for business. This innovative use of technology also earned TELUS a finalist distinction in the 2014 Ingenious Awards.