Proprietary pharmacist Ingrid Qvarnström runs two pharmacies in Åland, Finland: Första apoteket in Mariehamn and the Kumlinge branch pharmacy in the archipelago. The new pharmacy system and equipment were installed in just a few days, despite the three-hour distance between the two. Good planning was the key.



Första apoteket (former Nya Apoteket) and Kumlinge branch pharmacy

Proprietary pharmacis
Ingrid Qvarnström

Year of establishment
Första apoteket 1867, Kumlinge 1934

Total number of employees

Prescriptions per year
Första apoteket 73,025, Kumlinge 2,975

Only one day had passed since proprietary pharmacist Ingrid Qvarnström had become the owner of Första apoteket in Mariehamn and the Kumlinge branch pharmacy. The very next morning, Receptum’s installers and trainers marched in, ready to equip both pharmacies with MAXX. The task was made more challenging by the fact that the journey to the branch pharmacy in the archipelago took three hours by sea.

In connection with the system replacement, 12 new customer terminals were installed in Första apoteket, while Kumlinge took a big leap into the digital era. On Friday, the tiny branch pharmacy’s inventory management system consisted of pen and paper. On Monday, the traditional order cards were history. When the pharmacy opened on Monday, MAXX showed the inventory levels on the computer.

Careful planning is important in system replacement of two pharmacies

‘I can only praise the expertise and efficiency of Receptum’s installers and trainers. I was mentally prepared for problems, but everything went just great, Ingrid Qvarnström says.

Naturally, she knew that Receptum has already carried out more than 450 pharmacy system replacements. The installers and trainers know the details related to the implementation of MAXX inside out. Careful planning is still essential.

Ingrid Qvarnström had the first discussions with Receptum months in advance.

‘We planned every detail of the system replacement extremely carefully. With one of the two pharmacies so difficult to reach, you really have to consider the logistics thoroughly. When planning the installation of equipment and system and the training of staff, you also have to pay attention to the timetables of the archipelago ferries.’

Optical fibre rules in the archipelago

Kumlinge is about 60 kilometres from Mariehamn as the crow flies, but it takes three hours to get there by archipelago ferry and car. There are about five departures per day, depending of the day of the week and the season.

‘We started the installation of MAXX and training of the staff at Första apoteket. Then the manager of the Kumlinge pharmacy took the ferry to Kumlinge with the installers.’

When the installers saw the little old red cottage that housed the pharmacy, they sighed deeply. How could data systems ever work in these conditions? There was no need to fear.

‘They even said that the data communication speeds were higher than in many places on the mainland.’

Åland has invested in optical fibre. Reliable and fast data communications are provided to retain professionals of different fields in the archipelago.

The MAXX system and helpdesk service are also provided in Swedish

In an ideal situation, Receptum provides the pharmacy with training equipment for practical training with MAXX before the actual system replacement. In Åland, the replacement was done on the fly.

‘After the installation weekend, the trainers stayed for a couple of days. It was of great significance with respect to the completion of the entire process. The trainers were an important mental support for the staff. After this, help has been quickly available from Rectum’s helpdesk.’

The pharmacy staff in Åland say that one of the greatest features of MAXX is language: The old pharmacy system was in Finnish. Första apoteket and the Kumlinge branch use the Swedish version of MAXX.

‘Of course we can work in Finnish, too. However, it is an entirely different matter to work in your own language. This particularly increases reliability and speed when you are in a hurry.’

MAXX makes the management of two pharmacies easier

Ingrid Qvarnström became familiar with MAXX already when she was working in Kaarina on the Finnish mainland. She started using it also in her first own pharmacy in Godby, Åland five and a half years ago.

‘I wanted the data systems of Första apoteket and the Kumlinge branch to run smoothly in parallel. The Kumlinge pharmacy is very small with limited storage space. Especially when we are in a hurry, the Kumlinge pharmacy does not have to call us in Mariehamn to ask for replenishment. You can see the supply directly in MAXX. When you know the bus and ferry timetables, you can immediately tell the customer when they can pick up their medicine.’

One of the benefits of a joint system is that the two pharmacies can perform various tasks on behalf of each other. ‘For instance, either pharmacy can run customer billing for them both.’

In addition to being easy to use, you can make notes in product and customer information. Ingrid Qvarnström finds this very convenient.

‘The functionality of the system has been carefully designed. We also use the intranet a lot; it is our bulletin board and document archive. It is a great tool in everyday work.’

Ingrid Qvarnström also likes the inventory managent function of MAXX as well as the graphical statistics. ‘There is no need to analyse numbers when you see the situation graphically. It is very convenient to see the entire year visualised before your eyes.’

Convenient mobile prescriptions for people living in remote areas

Next, Ingrid Qvarnström is planning to start using mobile prescriptions. Customers can download Receptum’s MobiiliResepti from the application store. With this application, they may place an order for e-prescription medicines at the MAXX pharmacy of their choice. The pharmacy sends a confirmation message when the customer’s medicines are ready to be picked up.

‘Particularly in remote areas, the mobile prescription saves time as customers know when they can pick up their medicine,’ Ingrid Qvarnström explains.

Ingrid Qvarnström was born and grew up on the Finnish mainland, but her roots are in Åland, dating back to the 17th century.

A third-generation proprietary pharmacist, she truly returned to her roots when she became the owner of Första apoteket and the Kumlinge branch pharmacy. It was her grandfather who founded the Kumlinge pharmacy in 1934.

‘This certainly feels good. I spent all my childhood summers in Åland and have known the Kumlinge pharmacy all my life.’