10 Things to Know about Pharmacy Informatics
The field of pharmacy informatics has become much better established over recent years. Here are some things that you’ll want to know while considering a career in this area:
#1: The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) defines pharmacy informatics as “the scientific field that focuses on medication-related data and knowledge within the continuum of healthcare systems – including its acquisition, storage, analysis, use and dissemination.”
#2: The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists describes the clinical informatics pharmacist as “an expert in human factors, patient safety, and the use of technology to optimize care delivery processes and effectively communicate patient care activity.”
#3: A thorough understanding of the pharmacy technology language used by National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) is essential for success in a pharmacy career in the health informatics field.
#4: Pharmacy informaticists play an important role in achieving the goals of many of their high-level colleagues including the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO), pharmacy director, pharmacy operations manager, medical safety leaders, and physician informaticists.
#5: Examples of pharmacy informatics include Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE), e-prescribing, telepharmacy, bedside bar coding, electronic medication administration records (eMARs), automated dispensing cabinets, inventory management systems, smart pumps and robotic IV automation.
#6: Several Stage 2 requirements for meaningful use relate to medication use, including CPOE, clinical decision support, patient access to personal pharmacy records, and medication order tracking.
#7: While most providers have embraced e-prescribing, it does not mean that the pharmacy on the receiving end has processed the prescription electronically. Many pharmacies receive electronic prescriptions via fax because it is less expensive.
#8: Becoming fluent in reporting analytics is a powerful measure of success for pharmacy informaticists who want to valid results within their respective pharmacy operation. This includes metrics related to pharmacy data, clinical data, cost data, and functional data that can be applied to improve clinical outcomes, cost control, and overall system usage.
#9: Pharmacy informatics are improving medication use and patient safety by making it easier for prescribers to reduce patient risk by providing layers of data related to prescribing habits, patient compliance, drug equivalents, and cost-savings potential.
#10: Intelligent pills that can deliver targeted drug therapy to specific areas of the body, monitor the body’s environment (e.g. pH levels, temperature), and otherwise support informatics efforts by transmitting data via wireless technology. Other pharmacy technologies like mobile apps, sensors on medication caps, and skin patches can also gather patient information send it out to their care team via the cloud.