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Pharmacies in Northern Quebec are switching from Assyst Rx to Ubik

Female pharmacist with older female patient in pharmacy setting

Amélie Fortin, Chief Pharmacist leading the regional Department of Pharmacy for the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB) and former co-owner of a community pharmacy, discusses her transition from the Assyst Rx pharmacy management solution to Ubik®.

Supported by a TELUS Health multidisciplinary team dedicated to transitioning to Ubik, she shares that this transition was successful thanks to rigorous teamwork, a well-prepared pharmacy team and high-quality personalized service that made all the difference.

The reality of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay

The Cree Board provides services to 9 communities through 3 pharmacy centres where 85 to 90 per cent of the work done is focused on community pharmacy services: prescription management and chronic medication refills, home care, medical advice, etc. About the initial need to modernize their pharmacy solution, Amélie Fortin says: “We needed a very powerful tool to be able to fully operate as a community pharmacy; we needed to upgrade our pharmacy management solution to modernize our practice.” The objective was to reduce administrative tasks, improve distribution and provide better clinical follow-up.

Deciding on Ubik was a natural choice

Amélie Fortin explains: “When you understand the complexity of managing a pharmacy, the pharmacy solution used on a day-to-day basis can really play a significant role in how each member of the team performs their tasks.” 

Ubik met many of the criteria required by the regional Pharmacy Department of the CBHSSJB such as its ability to support clinical services, the possibility for patients to view their file and then refill their prescriptions online and having common employee schedules. In addition, Ubik is a new generation solution, a reliable tool that has proven itself for over 10 years. Ubik’s traceability feature has also been an important asset. You know who is responsible for what, you can take action if someone is behaving inappropriately, or doing things they shouldn’t. And if an accident occurs, you can trace who did what in the patient’s file. 

In terms of technology, the PACMED machines acquired by the CBHSSJB two years ago can finally be operational and produce medication pouches as planned thanks to the implementation of Ubik. Even the fax machine, still used by pharmacists, has been integrated into the pharmacy management solution. All the thermal and laser printers and scanners also had to be configured for every workstation (around thirty in all). 

The Ubik pharmacy solution being bilingual has also been an asset, since “the majority of the (Indigenous) employees work in English only”, as Amélie Fortin notes.

One thing for certain, as Amélie Fortin says: “the TELUS Health team was by our side throughout the transition process, before, during and after, to efficiently adapt the pharmacy solution to the pharmacies’ reality and provide a smooth migration.”

The pharmacy team adapted quickly to Ubik

The Chief Pharmacist is very pleased to be among the 335 pharmacies that have chosen Ubik. “We have a lot of locum pharmacists here. Of 12 full-time positions, I only have 6 positions filled, but this software is so easy that within an hour or two, any pharmacist feels at ease and is really comfortable after just a few days. Our pharmacy techs have been able to transition to Ubik as well, because the buttons, features and interface in English are easy to understand” remarks Amélie. As for patients, they will be able to order their medication in the fall.

The pharmacist proudly adds: “On February 1st, we were with Assyst Rx, and on February 2nd we were with Ubik; just like that, the very next day. It was incredible! Internally, people couldn’t believe it. Everyone was operational, the pharmacy kept running because everyone worked together.” 

The importance of properly preparing the pharmacy team 

Amélie realizes that pharmacies that have not yet transitioned from Assyst Rx to Ubik may hesitate in some cases for fear of losing employees who have been there for many years. However, training a new person is much easier with Ubik than Assyst Rx, which is less user-friendly and involves remembering too many codes. 

The TELUS Health team that supports pharmacies in their transition emphasizes the importance of supporting teams very early in the process to give them confidence and reassure them every step of the way with lots of involvement, transparency and explanations. The TELUS Health project manager in charge of the transition at CBHSSJB says: “The key is preparation, psychological preparation that must take place very early in the process so that the curve is as gentle as possible.”

Given the particular context of the pandemic, which prevented any travel or face-to-face meetings, this transition project with the CBHSSJB was unique since 100% of the technical intervention took place remotely, including training, installation and testing. This required three-way cooperation between the Pharmacy Department team, the TELUS Health team and the Cree Board IT team.  Thanks to e-learning, the pharmacy team had live coaching and was able to create files, prescriptions, etc. Videos were available for practising, easing the transition, removing apprehensions and mastering Ubik. All this generated real enthusiasm for the transition. 

How Ubik is being used in CBHSSJB pharmacies today 

Today, the new Ubik pharmacy management solution at CBHSSJB supports the various practices of pharmacists and pharmacy staff who are beginning, for example, to use schedules, record COVID medication inventories, share clinical information and do follow-ups. In short, they are now taking ownership of it to develop services that could not be offered with Assyst Rx. Happy with the migration to Ubik, Amélie Fortin says: “TELUS is highly adaptable; even if pharmacies have some special requirements, it is worth exploring transitioning to Ubik, which offers a wealth of solutions.”

Do you have any questions about Ubik or the transition process from your pharmacy management solution to Ubik? Check out Switch to Ubik or contact us.