Pharmacy Informatics: What You Need to Know Now

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What is pharmacy informatics?

Pharmacy informatics has a unique definition, offered by The Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The definition of Pharmacy informatics is: “the scientific field that focuses on medication-related data and knowledge within the continuum of healthcare systems.”

How does pharmacy informatics improve patient care?

The collection, analysis and sharing of data helps pharmacists and other members of the care team make the appropriate decisions regarding the use of pharmaceutical treatments to enhance patient care. Informatics allow for a systematic approach to evaluating outcomes and making data-driven clinical decisions in real time.

What technologies are used within pharmacy informatics?

The ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) provides an all-encompassing list of technologies used in the practice of pharmacy informatics. These include:

  • Automated Dispensing Cabinets
  • Bedside Bar Coding
  • Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE)
  • Electronic Medication Administration Records (eMARs)
  • E-Prescribing
  • Inventory Management Systems
  • Robotic IV Automation
  • Smart Pumps
  • Telepharmacy

How can current pharmacy informatics systems be improved?

Current pharmacy informatics systems only address provider prescribed medications. Adding provisions for the collection of data on vaccinations, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements would afford a more holistic view of the patient’s medical history.

What is the next big thing for the pharmacy informatics industry?

The Pharmacy Health Information Technology Collaborative, a group of nine professional pharmacy associations, is developing what is known as the pharmacist–pharmacy provider EHR (PP-EHR). The goal of this discipline-specific electronic health record technology is to better capture and document all patient services performed by pharmacies. The new system would leverage pharmacy-specific treatment codes, and could either be integrated into an existing EHR model or work as a stand-alone add-on.

What is the difference between being a pharmacist and pharmacy informaticist?

All pharmacists will technically use informatics to some degree, in order to make clinical decisions that ensure patient safety and improve the probability of positive outcomes. Pharmacy informaticists take their knowledge of medication management and apply it to the design and development of discipline-specific systems and software.

How can I learn more about a career in pharmacy informatics?

Pharmacy informatics is a still-emerging field with tremendous opportunity for individuals who get in on the front end. Employers are eager for talent that can bring a blend of clinical and technical knowledge to their organization. Earning your pharmacy informatics degree is an important first step to making a commitment to this profession.