Digitalization of pharmacies



Apotheken Fachkreis is a digital initiative of STADA subsidiary ALIUD PHARMA® GmbH. Digital Marketing Manager Steffen Nold leads this project. We talked to him about this pioneering project to help pharmacists with digitalization.

The Apotheken Fachkreis helps pharmacists master the challenges of digitalization. What is the background of this initiative and what are the goals of ALIUD PHARMA, Mr. Nold?

ALIUD PHARMA published the first pharmacy report, which focuses in particular on the question of where German pharmacies are on the path to digitalization, in 2017. 
The key findings show that digitalization offers many opportunities to pharmacies, but currently only one-third of the pharmacies actually use these advantages. Although digitalization is considered by almost all pharmacists to be an important driver, there is a clear discrepancy between private and professional use of the medium.

Pharmacists still feel lost in the jungle of digital opportunities. There are countless offers from many different providers, but they are very expensive, often require knowledge that is lacking, and take a lot of time. Online mail order pharmacies are also becoming increasingly important in the context of digitalization. Local pharmacies have important advantages, such as high level consulting skills and personal contact. Pharmacists must be open to digitalization in order to be able to offer these advantages to the customer in the future and continue to be successful. With the establishment of Apotheken Fachkreis, ALIUD PHARMA aims to support pharmacists in overcoming the challenges of digitalization and procuring good locations for pharmacists.

What concrete measures do you offer pharmacists?

With the Apotheken Fachkreis initiative, we are there to prepare local pharmacies for digitalization, make their expertise with customers also apparent outside the pharmacy walls and to develop a clear competitive advantage over the competition. We offer an app for service and advice, individualized websites, newsletters and know-how for this.
The service and advice app contains up-to-date health information and lifestyle topics as well as multilingual application videos and checklists that provide fresh and informative advice in the pharmacy. The app can also showcase a pharmacy's services and offers, and there is a location-based search function for pharmacies that customers can contact in an emergency. The app helps pharmacists visually and interactively by assisting patient consultations with digital media. This allows the pharmacy to offer a special service experience and positions it in a contemporary way.
ALIUD PHARMA also offers the creation of an individual website for pharmacies within the scope of the Apotheken Fachkreis, enabling pharmacies to reach their customers outside of its walls and strengthen customer relationships. It can also help create newsletters quickly and easily to email customers with information about promotions, events and news. Another important measure to avoid overburdening many pharmacists with the challenges of digitalization is the provision of the necessary know-how. Apotheken Fachkreis teaches skills for digital communication in its own workshop series "APOTHEKEN.ZUKUNFT – Stärken sichtbar machen" [FUTURE PHARMACY - Making strengths visible]. Steffen Kuhnert, pharmacist and health entrepreneur, talks about, among other things, the possibilities of using social media and building strong and lasting customer relationships.
There is also the Digital Marketing Campus training program, which trains PTAs (pharmaceutical technical assistants) and PCAs (pharmaceutical commercial assistants) to be digital pharmacy marketing managers. Further information can be found at

What are the opportunities for local pharmacies?

Pharmacies can demonstrate their core skills outside the pharmacy as well and, for example, stay in contact with their customers through their own website or interesting newsletters using digital media. Setting up online shops and the ability to communicate with customers in chat forums or online office hours create clear advantages for brick and mortar pharmacies compared with their competitors on the Internet.

How does digitalization affect your daily work and what do you imagine your future working environment will be like?

Digitalization does not just mean the use of digital processes and tools, but also an open and modern corporate culture. Open doors, regular management updates and marketing newsletters, cross-departmental projects with the use of digital project management tools and a blog by CEO Ingrid Blumenthal about her social commitment in Nepal are just a few examples. One goal for the future should be that all employees can work in an atmosphere that allows creativity and innovation. I also think that sooner or later the work will not necessarily have to be performed in a fixed location at given times, but will be increasingly flexible. The company needs to be developed into a multifunctional environment with a range of health, entertainment and creative offers.

What experiences do you personally have with the rapid digital development?

Unfortunately, I devote too much time to my smartphone – in the morning the first glimpse at my phone is to view the status updates on Instagram and Twitter. Then Alexa tells me about today's weather and the latest news. I use my smartwatch to always stay informed during the day. I also work on my own blog ( on digitalization in healthcare. Unfortunately, it's been a while since I have managed to write a new post. Permanent accessibility seems to almost be a "must" these days in to keep in touch with the outside world and stay informed.