Research Document - Interviews with Pharmacists


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Research Document - Interviews with Pharmacists

  1. 1. To find scope for design intervention for chemists, and synthesise suitable solutions. Objective: Targeted segment: Small and medium scale chemists operating in 2 tire and 3 tire cities. Observation and Interviews were conducted at several medical stores. Research: 1. Archana Medicals Don’t use computer, though they have one All records are maintained manually and filed systematically. Stock and availability also determined mentally. Owner says he is the computer. Expiry is checked for every month- manually. They have over 4000 medicines stocked in their shelves arranged alphabetically.
  2. 2. They have no problem in getting medicines- the distributer delivers immediately to them in case of any emergency. Regarding info about banned medicines - They get alerts from their association- in the form of circulars - Storage of the medicines: some medicines need to be stored in dark place, some need to be refrigerated etc. although in most cases it is mentioned with medicine itself, there is confusion regarding it. - Price fluctuation of medicines. Causes discrepancies if old price has been entered into the system and they have to sell it at new price. - Difficult to understand doc’s handwriting. They don’t take risk, ask the patient to go to med stores near the doc’s place. Confusion: Future plan: few chair for patients to sit - Counselling area in med shop . Use mediSoft with internet connection. 2. Radhi Medicals They don’t get the medicines from distributors as soon as they ask for it, there’s usually a 2 days delay. Confusion over the quantity of medicine brought in by the dealers when they make orders over the phone. Usually they bring wrong quantity and make second trips to deliver the right qt. Very close to hospital. 3. Jayem Medical Hospital has pharmacy and so all the medicines are purchased within the hospital itself. This affects their business. They also said the prescriptions are not given to the patient- but are directly transferred online to the pharmacy- the patient does not come to know what drug he has been prescribed * has to be verified if this is true. If the medicines are not available , they give substitutes for a few days. For the remaining days they come to outside stores and ask for the substituted medicine. Neethi stores sell medicines at very low rates- as they buy in very large quantitiesthis affects their business.
  3. 3. They suggested that if prices of medicines were on the chemical composition basis and not on the brand, then it would be better to regulate prices. 40-50 ppl daily 4. Rangalakshmi – medical store: 7- 9.00 pm peak hour Alphabetical Conusion: New Products being launched Software- initially remedi now c square. They have 2000 medicines worth 3,00,000 Weekly once 5-6 distributers come Credit basis 20 – 30% loss on expiry Attached to hospital. 5. Shobha Pharmacy: Have very less cosmetic items 7.00am to 11pm. 8-12 lakhs rs, 2000 medicines alphabetically Remidi Accounts every month- system gives report only dialy basis monthly calculation done manually Distributers come to pharmacy. 6. Feria Medicals: (small scale independent medical store)
  4. 4. Owner: Priya (started Feria Medical 6 yrs ago) Aged: 38. Qualification: D.Pharm Technology exposure: Minimum computer knowledge- just enough to operate the medi-software. Does not have internet connection. Uses base model Nokia phone and is aware of Nokia Ovi suite). Owns the medical store- that stocks 7,00,000 worth medicines. Initially right after finishing D.Pharm she assisted at Govt hospitals. After studying so much in detail about drugs their composition and their effects she felt her work was just like any other shop keeper- take from the shelf the item that the customer wants and giving it to them- studying so much about medicine was quiet pointless. She found her jog very menial. Background:
  5. 5. Later when she started a shop on her own, she’s very satisfied that she can run a proper business and her education is paying off. Has a very positive attitude towards her profession and believes there aren’t any problems faced by them if they do things systematically. She enjoys her work! She is at her shop from 9.00am to 9.30pm (goes home for lunch for an hour). Routine: Has 2 helpers- mainly for sorting medicines that have been purchased, and to keep the store tidy. They also help in giving medicines to the customers during busy hours. Shelving methods that are currently in used in pharma shops: Alphabetical Pharmacological- (all cancer medicines together, all heart meds together.. ) Company wise The shelving method used in Feria medicals is Alphabetical because: - - - It is easier to retrieve medicines by their names Her staff members can also find the medicine by the name directly- they don’t have to have knowledge of effects and chemical composition which will be required if she sorts it the pharmacological way. It is easier while sorting medicines and placing them in the shelf. Since hers is not big store she does not have space to dedicate a full shelf/box for each company Alphabetically arranged in boxes:
  6. 6. As each sale is made, it is recorded in her register, which is later on manually entered into the computer to update stock. Only when customer wants bill, it is generated from the computer. Sale: Sales Rep from distributor comes and sees the register and notes down the drugs that he can provide. He goes back to the distributor and gets the medicine and returns to the medical store with it. He also brings the invoice. Purchase: Each day there may be around 6-7 invoices from different distributors which are stapled together. Since she does not have internet and compatible software for all the dealers she manually enters the stock. The invoices are filed and stored. They have piled up files since 4 years and storing and maintaining it is a big problem for them- they don’t know how long they are expected to keep them. View on Computer/ pharma software:
  7. 7. - Very beneficial: o tells them the quantity of stock in their racks o Helps when they have to pay taxes and VAT o Helps them record purchase and sale o Since she has always been poor in mathematics, the calculations made by software helps her a lot and makes her feel things are under control o If she uses the same software as the dealer, and has internet connection, she need not manually enter the purchases – the dealer will send a soft copy of the bill, which will automatically update her stock list. - Not so beneficial : o Manually entering data is a little time consuming o There are almost 6 to 7 softwares used by different dealers – she cannot buy or use that many software simultaneously so she cannot benefit from it- she has to type in manually. o 3yrs ago the cost of the software she uses was 25,000. every yr she has to pay 2,000 for updates o The software does not return required result:  When queried for quantity of a particular drug, the software does not show the exact results: since a drug of same name of but different batch no and expiry date is treated as a different entry  Dealing with expiry: When she wants to find the drugs that have reached expiry, she queries for it in the software- the software returns results in alphabetic order of all the medicinesshe has stocked medicines in her shelves as Syrups and Tablets – which are then sorted in alphabetical order. Since the software does not differentiate between syrups and tablets it is not very useful. • Because of this she manually checks each and every medicine in her shelves for Expiry every 3 months when they do cleaning. Banned Drugs:
  8. 8. Govt/ institutions do research and announce that certain drugs/ drugs containing a certain Chemical must be banned- these notifications are made in news papers only. It is not possible for the chemist to look out for these notifications in the newspapers everyday- there is a good possibility that they miss these notifications- the consequence of which is that the if the Drug inspector (who can turn up any time) finds the banned drugs in the shelves they might even have to close down their shop. Currently the chemists association send the chemist an sms whenever any notifications come in the news papers. (this could be a possible area for design intervention) Dealing with combination drugs, when certain components have been banned: In this case the chemist has to recollect from his memory which all combination drugs (made of more than one component) contain that particular component- (the software does not have the capability to do this.) This may lead to a situation where he has to search most of his medicines to ensure that particular chemical component is not stocked. It is also possible that his search may not be perfect and hence the banned drugs may still remain in his shelves New Drugs Names/ new companies : Lot of new companies have come in to the pharma market and they manufacture medicines under new names or entirely new medicines. The chemists are not aware of these until they have loose quiet a number of customers who come asking for it. Generally the chemists have a Directory that gives a list of all the drugs(as in picture). The disadvantage is that:
  9. 9. - they have to keep buying the book often - they book does not classify which are the Latest drugs and which are the ones that are already there for a while (Opportunity area for us) In their 3 yrs of d.pharm they have been taught medicines by their generic names. Different manufacters make the same med in diff names and also doctors prescribe medicine by the company names- hence the chemist have a lot of relearning to do and have to constantly map the generic name that they have learnt to the new names by which they are known these days. As much as possible they try to get the medicine for the customer within one day if they don’t have that particular medicine. They would ask the customer to come by in the evening or the next day, by then they go to the dealer and get the medicine. Customer service: For select few people only they give medicines at home- because they don’t have enough staff for that kind of service and are running only small scale.
  10. 10. handling expiry Data entry/ keeping stock updated: should be automated Alerts about banned drugs Updates on what’s new and in demand Summary of Possible Opportunity areas for design intervention for chemists: - From our research it emerged that it is not just the Chemist who would need any solution, but mainly it is the patient who needs it Handwriting Storage and Retrival of prescription made easy Information / Instructions vizuallly more effective Reduce waiting time at the store Mechanism for patient to know where/which shop his medicines will be available Possible Opportunity areas for design intervention for Patient/Customer: -