|Learning from Pharmacy||| Print ||
There was an article in the February 15 issue of BusinessWeek that caught my eye. It stated: "Washington wants to pump big money into so-called disease management, though there's scant evidence that it works." In the article there was mention of nurses, but no mention of pharmacists. Yet there is documented evidence that pharmacist involvement in medication therapy management can prove effective. I consider MTM to be an important element of disease management.
When I read an article like this it tells me that pharmacy is still not getting its message across. The public perception is that pharmacists deal solely with product dispensing. In many cases the pharmacist stays tucked away behind the prescription counter. There is little exchange between the pharmacist and the consumer. The politicians in Washington see this firsthand when they have prescriptions filled.
I don't know what it's going to take to change the public perception of pharmacy. Needless to say, there is also little appreciation outside of pharmacy of the technology deployed to improve safety and compliance, and to detect fraud and abuse. The American Society for Automation in Pharmacy (ASAP) tried to address this in an analysis it did to determine the cost that pharmacists add to filling a prescription from the investment made in technology, and how technology addresses the three areas I mentioned. You can read more about this in the interview with the current president of ASAP on page 83 .
When you thumb through this issue of ComputerTalk, you can't help but be impressed by the array of products and services being offered to help pharmacists do a better job. The companies behind these systems are also helping pharmacies serve niche areas and improve customer service. The number of companies serving the pharmacy market is impressive.
Pharmacy needs more local press on how it is using technology. Robotic systems, for example, are indeed a story to tell. If you are using one of these systems and have not gotten press, this is a mistake.
The way barcode scanning is used is another story. There is no question that this improves getting the right prescription to the right person. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
If there is going to be recognition of the importance of pharmacy in reducing the cost of healthcare, it has to start at the grassroots level. I never see any coverage of pharmacy in the local paper I get. Yet I know there are pharmacists out there doing positive things and using technology to support this.
So think about it. How are you using technology to make a difference? Then contact your local paper. Editors are always looking for new story ideas.
By the way, if you happen to misplace this buyers guide issue and want to check something, the entire issue is now online at computertalk.com. You can page through it there and download a PDF of what you were looking for. CT
Bill Lockwood, Chairman/Publisher