Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina has urged operators of its independent pharmacy chain Alphega Pharmacies to prepare for a “digital revolution that will change our world”.

Pessina said that within the next 10 years healthcare technology will be so advanced doctors will be able to conduct appointments via smartphones.

The Boots chairman advised independent pharmacy owners in the Alphega network not to miss the future opportunities at the Alphega Pharmacy European Convention attended by members of Alphega in Monaco last week.

Pessina said: “I am quite convinced that in ten years’ time we will see a real revolution.

“I imagine that patients will use their smartphone or tablet when they have the desire to speak to a doctor. They will be able to transfer all the relevant information, such as blood pressure, temperature and analysis of the blood. They will be able to send a photo image of the different parts of their body and the doctor will be able to make a diagnosis.

“This is not a fiction I have seen many companies that see this as the future.”

He said that because of this pharmacies will have to embrace the digital revolution.

Alliance Boots director of group information technology Anthony Roberts added that apps are gaining in popularity as healthcare tools and pharmacists will be expected to advise on how to use them effectively.

Roberts said items such as blood pressure monitors that link to smartphones and record health readings, will become more common.

Pessina added that alongside new technology, Alphega pharmacists will be expected to provide extra services other than just dispensing medicines, such as nursing home visits, nurses and doctors stationed in pharmacies and delivering to customers’ homes. Alphega Pharmacies currently offers information to help customers cope with diabetes and heart disease.

Alphega Pharmacies has 1,000 members in the UK and is Alliance Boots’ independent pharmacy chain, which sits alongside its Boots health and beauty chain.