Title: Telepharmacy and ePharmacy: Siamese or discrete?

Authors: Sanjay P. Sood, Nupur Prakash, Rajeev K. Agrawal, Ansar Al-Ansar Bin Foolchand

Addresses: C-DAC School of Advanced Computing, Quatre Bornes, Mauritius. ' School of IT, GGS Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India. ' Kettering University, Flint, Michigan, USA. ' C-DAC School of Advanced Computing, Quatre Bornes, Mauritius

Abstract: In this information age, businesses of all sizes are using the internet for e-business and e-commerce. Potential benefits derived from e-commerce increase when businesses engage in the process of business transformation. Pharmacies are no exception to this transformation. While working on the project for the development of an online pharmacy, incorporating an intelligent system for prescription of drugs for trivial illnesses, we came across an interesting observation. It was intriguing to note that, among peers, the term |Pharmacy| was often being mixed up with another seemingly similar term |telepharmacy|. This ambiguity not only reflected a lack of clarity about ePharmacy, but also about telepharmacy. To demystify the essence behind these two terms, we gathered peer-reviewed literature on telepharmacy and ePharmacy. Our research eventually enabled us to (i) understand telepharmacy and ePharmacy, and (ii) define and contrast the two terms. Key findings reflect that telepharmacy is a technology (not essentially dependent on the internet) and provides pharmacy services to isolated communities. On the other side ePharmacy is an innovative concept associated with electronic transactions, ePrescription systems, decision-support systems, etc., and it is reinventing pharmacy|s business model. It has already proved to be successful in countries such as Australia, and has also been found to be promising enough to add another shade to the spectrum of eHealth.

Keywords: e-pharmacy; e-prescription systems; online pharmacies; telepharmacy; pharmacy services; remote communities; decision support systems; DSS; e-health; electronic healthcare; healthcare technology; electronic transactions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHTM.2008.020200

International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management, 2008 Vol.9 No.5/6, pp.485 - 494

Published online: 08 Sep 2008 *

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