OTC Answers introduces pharmacist-friendly OTC recommendation tool

MILWAUKEE — OTC Answers on Tuesday released its Self+Care Web-based application, a pharmacy-facing over-the-counter recommendation engine. 

“In a busy pharmacy setting the pharmacist struggles to meet prescription demand.  When a customer asks to discuss an over-the-counter product, the result is either a time-consuming assessment or a sudden recommendation that may not take into account the patient’s entire circumstance," stated John Rose, OTC Answers president. "In the first instance the pharmacist is taken out of workflow for five minutes or more. In the second instance the patient may not be getting the best available advice."

OTC Answers developed Self+Care to enable pharmacists to provide the optimal OTC recommendation without disrupting their productivity. 

While developing Self+Care, OTC Answers recognized the application had to accommodate the pharmacist’s need for detail while also streamlining the patient assessment. Complex algorithms were designed such that the patient assessment flows naturally and only relevant questions are asked. 

Self+Care was designed by pharmacists, on behalf of pharmacists, Rose said.  Many prior solutions were designed "by software developers rather than pharmacists — the solutions weren’t sensitive to the needs of a pharmacist in a high volume environment."

Self+Care utilizes a proprietary color-coded interaction scale to clearly indicate an interaction and its severity. If need be the pharmacist can learn more about the interaction by simply clicking on the interaction symbol. Another important requirement was to preserve the pharmacist’s pharmacotherapy discretion. “Self+Care was built to enhance the pharmacist’s OTC knowledge while still enabling the pharmacist to select one or more appropriate active ingredients based on the patient assessment," he said. "Self+Care narrows the active ingredient search but it is the pharmacist that makes the final ingredient and dosage form selections.”

As a web-based application, Self+Care was designed to work with all popular web browsers including Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome and Firefox. The user accesses Self+Care from his or her existing workstation or tablet computer. No additional hardware is required. The application is licensed by retail pharmacies on a subscription basis. The over-the-counter product compliment is refined on behalf of each retail customer prior to deployment.

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