pharmbots: chatbots to augment pharmaceutical care

Pharmbots, helpful partners in our pharmaceutical future Our everyday life and the digital world are becoming more and more intertwined. We’re slowly growing accustomed to innovations such as the Internet of Things, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. A relatively new kid on the block is the chatbot, which can be seen ánd used as connecting partner between our real and digital life. A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users. It answers questions and provides services. Therefore chatbots can be of great help in pharmaceutical care, for both pharmacists ánd patients. Let’s call these pharmaceutical chatbots ‘Pharmbots’. A Pharmbot, like every chatbot, needs an algorithm that can deal with both unstructured data – like verbal text – as well as strúctured data – like patient leaflets and medical record information. These data require seamless integration of all medical data systems surrounding the patient. By providing clinical triage and medical content, a Pharmbot can offer interactive help for patients. The algorithm can quickly find out what a patient is suffering from, and advice on how to treat it. Simply by asking questions through a mobile app or a dedicated voice-controlled support device. For pharmacists the implementation of Pharmbot technology in daily practice will be of great impact. It may take over parts of the everyday interactions with patients. For instance, the Pharmbot will help the patient by answering simple questions at home, help with medication compliance remotely ánd provide a first-rate 24/7 remote personalized user experience. Also, it will free up time for pharmacists or other stakeholders in the patient journey to manage the most complex medication problems or develop new types of dedicated services. Will Pharmbots shape our pharmaceutical future? And will this innovative digital health technology have its effect on the adequate use of drugs? Time will tell. Fact is: chatbots are here now. And their performance is already promising and full of opportunities.

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