February 2023 Newsletter

There has been a lot of talk and media coverage concerning artificial intelligence (Al) with the recent launch of ChatGPT, which is a sophisticated language processing system that can understand and respond to language, taking into account context and providing coherent answers.

As information and knowledge is the corner-stone of any profession including pharmacy, I decided to ask a question to see the response and the potential impact within community pharmacy.

The question I asked of ChatGPT was: How will Al affect community pharmacy in Australia? The response is as follows:

Artificial Intelligence (Al) is likely to have a significant impact on community pharmacy in Australia in various ways:

  1. Medication Management: AI algorithms can help pharmacists automate tasks such as dispensing, dosage calculations and drug interactions. This will reduce errors and improve patient safety.
  2. Improved patient outcomes: AI can also be used to provide personalized medication recommendations, based on individual patient data and history, to improve patient outcomes.
  3. Increased efficiency: AI can automate routine tasks, freeing up pharmacists to spend more time with patients and engage in clinical activities.
  4. Predictive analytics: AI can provide pharmacists with insights on patient behaviour and drug utilisation patterns, helping them to better understand their patient populations and make data-driven decisions.
  5. Tele-pharmacy: AI-powered tele-pharmacy services will provide remote access to pharmacists, increasing access to care for patients in rural and remote areas.

However, the adoption of Al in community pharmacy may also raise some ethical and privacy concerns, and it is important that the appropriate measures are put in place to mitigate these risks.

All I can say is that I was blown away with the speed of the response (within 30 seconds), the detail and the caveat of privacy.

Knowledge and information is important for all health care professionals, but if we relied solely on AI, the missing ingredient would be the human element which provides connection, understanding and empathy.

Though there may be a fear amongst people of how it will affect their jobs and society, I can see this technology as enhancing our services to our communities and providing an even better health care experience.

These are definitely exciting times at enhancing our care to patients with the aid of AI technology.