|30 Years||| Print ||
2010 marks the 30th year we have been publishing ComputerTalk. I find this hard to believe, but it’s true. One would have thought that such a publication would have been short-lived, since the focus was so narrow. That’s one reason I never asked for opinions on whether I should move forward with the idea. I am sure I would have heard, “What are you going to write about after two or three issues?”
As it turned out, technology has played an important role in helping pharmacists do a better job in serving their patients and, I should add, in managing their business.
Over the years, in addition to being the publisher of this magazine, I have also served as the executive director of the American Society for Automation in Pharmacy (ASAP). We put on two conferences each year, and in recent years have included panel discussions with pharmacy owners on how they are using technology. It never fails to amaze me how technology has changed the world of pharmacy practice.
What’s more, pharmacy is well ahead of the other sectors of healthcare in the use of technology. Physician practices, in the main, still use computers primarily for scheduling and billing. This is the reason for the government’s financial incentives to physicians to install electronic medical record systems that pass the “meaningful use” test. One of the criteria for meaningful use is the system’s ability to handle electronic prescriptions.
During the most recent ASAP conference in January, it was clear that pharmacy leadership is trying to further integrate pharmacists into the healthcare team. With healthcare reform, you are likely to hear more about medical home teams. This model, and virtual care, may be the next big thing for pharmacy in gaining traction in medication therapy management. Whatever turns out to be the driving force, the use of computer-based products and services will be central to all of this.
In looking back I am awed by the evolution of technology solutions for pharmacy in the past three decades. Had someone told me 30 years ago that pharmacists would be using robots to fill prescriptions, I would have thought this an off-the-wall prediction. Same with the Internet. But one thing that I find interesting is that the early use of computers in pharmacy was through online systems, with terminals in the pharmacy connected to and sharing a common computer. Today this is known as software as a service, or hosted systems.
That said, it has been a pleasure reporting on the changing technology scene over the years. Based on the feedback that’s been volunteered from pharmacists I meet and who call in, ComputerTalk has certainly filled a need.
One last note, and that is that this magazine is now available on the ComputerTalk Web site. So if you misplace an issue and need to reference an article, simply go to computertalk.com and sign up at no charge for the electronic version. CT
Bill Lockwood, Chairman/Publisher