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Pharmacist 2.0 and beyond…

by Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS MBCS

Pharmacist 2.0 is a parody on Web 2.0. Yes, it is funny but there is a serious underlying point to this.

 

What is Web 2.0?

 

Wikipedia describe Web 2.0 as “web development and web design that facilitates interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Examples of Web 2.0 include web-based communities, hosted services, web applications, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups and folksonomies. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them.” (1) In a nutshell, Web 2.0 is a web-based technological tool, which allows like-minded people to communicate effectively. In a way, this fits into the social media phenomenon which I have found personally effective (2). The use of web based technologies has increased exponentially in the UK. The Office National Statistics figures in August 2009 indicated that 18.31 million UK households had internet access. This represented 70% of households and an increase of 1.85 million households since 2008(3). The obvious benefits of user-centred design and collaboration suggests that a significant proportion of the UK households with access to the internet will come into contact with Web 2.0 in general and Social Media sites in particular. Statistics published on Tech Crunchies in September 2009(4) indicated that the most popular social media sites in the UK were Facebook (47.5%); YouTube(16.63%); Bebo(4.26%); Twitter(2.21%) and MySpace(2.21%).

 

What is the relevance to Pharmacy?

 

It is increasingly becoming clear, to me anyway, that we will not, in future, be able to practice as pharmacists effectively without gaining some simple understanding of the basic web technologies. The Pharmaceutical Journal and a host of other pharmacy journals are now web 2.0 compliant. You can now post comments on to these websites in real time. We are now positively encouraged to use the online Continuous Professional Development (CPD) software to post our CPD entries. That way we can take advantage of the latest updates to the software in real time. Any legal compliance issues will be updated seamlessly. Furthermore, the web is littered with a host of data/information which can support our professional judgement. So, when it comes to being at the cutting edge of professional and legal practice, the pharmacist must increasingly embrace web technologies and be very savvy with their use.

 

As our patients and customers move to the virtual space, we need to, as professionals, follow them into that space. Otherwise our goal of encouraging the effective use of medicines may be undermined by others with ulterior motives. I am now observing a range of initiatives within and outside the world of pharmacy which are revolutionising professional practice. I will document this more comprehensively at a later date. That said, we need to do this carefully. A recent BBC report described a research published in the Journal of American Medical Association, whereby tweeting by some trainee doctors exposed the details of some of their patients(5). That is neither helpful to the patients, nor to our profession.

 

Pharmacist 2.0 (…and beyond)

 

If there is Web 2.0 then there must be Pharmacist 2.0 who understands and evolve with technological changes. Our effectiveness lies in our ability to build lasting relationships with our customers or patients to such an extent as to be able to influence their medicines-related decisions. If we have to do that in the real and virtual space, so be it. I have attempted to model Pharmacist 2.0 (…and beyond) using the illustration below (any modifications or enhancements are welcomed and will be attributed):

In a way, Pharmacist 2.0 (..and beyond) chimes with what our colleagues at MUROnline (http://www.medicines-use-review.co.uk) are trying to achieve for their MUR Evangelists and with technology expertise in-house, the journey to Pharmacist 2.0 (..and beyond) is well within their grasp. Bookapharmacist.com is committed to similar objectives and will continue to back that project.

 

A note for the diary

 

Hampshire and Isle of Wight LPC are organising a workshop at the Holiday Inn, Eastleigh on 6th of October 2009 at 7pm entitled: Confident Conversation. The event is run in partnership with Pfizer. Please book a place on this event by contacting the LPC  (http://www.hampshirelpc.org.uk/index.asp?type=contact_us).

References:

(2) Podcast [Sept 09]: Social Meida: http://iforg.com/blog/?p=296
(3) Internet Access: Household & Individuals: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/iahi0809.pdf
(4) Most Popular Social Media websites in the UK: http://techcrunchies.com/most-popular-social-media-websites-in-uk/
(5) ‘Tweeting’ medics expose patients: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8266546.stm
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