Digitisation is not a universal tonic

Digital transformation is sweeping across the healthcare landscape. Fuelled by ambitious government policy, exciting innovation and huge injections of funding,
it’s hard for anyone in the sector not to catch a dose of digitisation fever.

But digitisation is not a universal tonic, and it certainly isn’t always a ‘good thing’. In fact, there’s a real danger to digitising healthcare. Such a fundamental
change to the very nature of care delivery is an inevitably high-risk process: sometimes things or people get forgotten, vital processes stall, or new systems fail
to replicate the strengths of those they replace. Take, for instance, the digitisation of pharmacies.

Over recent years, the public’s use of online-only pharmacies have boomed: in March it was reported that the number of items dispensed from distance-selling
pharmacies in England, UK quadrupled between 2016 and 2021.

These online providers offer an attractively convenient way for patients to receive their medicines; replacing a trip to a high street pharmacy with a package
delivered straight to their door. On the surface, this digital solution seems perfect not only for young patients with busy schedules, but also for older patients
or for those with restricted mobility who may struggle with in-person collection.