Pharmacy & the Telepresence Technology – By Kabiru Abubakar Gulma



The late 20th century and most especially the dawn of 21st century, the century born by technological innovations amidst technological fears such as “the millennium time bomb is real”, were the periods hit by well enlightened campaigns on the usefulness of computer technology in human life.

I could pretty well remember that I was in the last two years of my high school education and we had to write many assignments, essays and represent the school in competitions, all not un-related to the significance of the computer in all endeavors of life.

But in the first decade of the 20th century, technological advancements peaked into – but not fully – the 75th percentile of achievement and impact anyone could think of. In pharmacy, there have been silent improvements that have now almost swept the profession into the digital world and rapidly phasing out our traditional way of doing things.

Portfolio of Achievements:

Pharmaceutical services in the era of IT centre on using devices to simplify activities. These operations enhance efficient services, cut cost and give pharmacy a modern outlook. The fundamental is the application of computer software/programmes in the execution of these services.

Some years before now, we all yelled the birth of computer programmes that are in place to manage stock level, i.e. the programmes enabled with functions that enter the procured stock, amount given for a requisition and a calculator that will automatically compute the remaining stock after the orders/requisitions have been given out. But now, pharmacies in the developed countries integrate their stock with RFID technology, coupled with a powerful database to manage the supply chain/expiry/product availability and most importantly to ensure that the drug is authentic. This approach would both cut costs and add to the differentiation of the pharmacy chain brand.

Again another innovation that littered the pharmacy technological landscape some years before now was the idea of online pharmacies which now has been squarely explored in the developed countries.

In the industrial sector, though new machines introduced were rarely a thrill, the most of all is now the automated or robot-operated industrial processes that have to gradually phase out the era of machines being regulated by humans at many points in the manufacturing procedure.

Education in pharmacy has also witnessed radiance of technological simplicity: the internet for research, video conference for distance learning, etc.

The Era of Telepresence:

Notwithstanding all the achievements recorded in the pharmaceutical and other endeavors of life, every day new ideas come to rule the world. The fashion of telepresence has now come to find many applications in the pharmaceutical world. Telepresence is the virtual presence of somebody whose actions are transmitted by electronic signals to physically remote sites.

Telepresence is a higher technology of video conference. It gives a physical and nearly 3D picture of somebody in a location he is not actually in but which does not equal to his real presence.

Pharmaceutical companies can use it for presentations of new products. The education sector can use it for paper presentations by somebody who is away. It can also promote the erstwhile traditional continuing education programmes.

However, as with any advancement, there comes with it a greater cost. So also the technology of telepresence which may require many devices that will come with higher cost. That notwithstanding, the application of telepresence will definitely strengthen communication and enhance information dissemination, promotion of products and participation in gatherings of particular interests.