Each year ComputerTalk publishes a Health-System Buyers Guide for pharmacy, showcasing vendors who offer the services that can support the increasing complexities in medication management, going way beyond dispensing. Automation and technology solutions can answer the paramount need in health-system pharmacy for safety and accuracy, as well as improving outcomes. With these aspects automated, health-system pharmacists can practice at the top of their license, interacting with patients and providing critical medication-related advice (read more here).
Finding Health-System Pharmacy Technology
Where to find the technology? ComputerTalk’s Buyers Guide is a place to start. With rising costs in the healthcare system, it’s important to evaluate solutions that will improve safety and efficiency in the workflow. Also, don’t think technology or automation will replace people; rather, it will empower staff to move beyond performing routine dispensing routines to fulfilling new roles in a clinically based setting, such as collaborative drug therapy management (CDTM).
This situation is highlighted in a report published in Hospital Pharmacy, titled “Expansion of Pharmacy Services During COVID-19: Pharmacists and Pharmacy Extenders Filling the Gaps Through Telehealth Services” (see the report here). This study looked specifically at New York State and telemedicine, but the ideas are applicable elsewhere — and it’s obvious that the scope and practice of pharmacy will evolve. In the case of the pandemic and telehealth, the authors found that innovative workflows and collaboration “catalyze a shift in pharmacists’ and pharmacy extenders’ roles in healthcare delivery.”
Telehealth is just one avenue for this shift. Robotics, AI (artificial intelligence), reporting, and business intelligence services, to name a few, are the services you can access in our 2021 Buyers Guide. We have several examples of automation and technology giving health-system pharmacists a larger foothold in the patient care experience in a hospital setting.
One example of expanding services through features already available in the pharmacy system is in the profile of Robert Schenk, Jr., director of ambulatory pharmacy at Hackensack Meridian Health in Edison, N.J. The outpatient features of his Rx30/TDS system gave him the tools to implement a meds-to-beds program, and chain host features enabled the pharmacy to grown to 10 locations. One important takeaway from the Meridian Health case study is that Schenk was able to illustrate the financial value pharmacy and pharmacists could bring to the entire health system (read the story here).
The Continuum of Care
At Children’s Mercy Hospital & Clinics (CMH) in Kansas City the emphasis is on the continuum of care for children requiring specialized care between the inpatient and outpatient environments. The experience there was published by as a case study by ScriptPro as an example of what an end-to-end solution can mean in the continuum of care. A key mission of CMH is to offer all the services families need in one spot and they’ve done that with ScriptPro’s SP Central Pharmacy Management System that integrates with the health system EHR (electronic health record) and a refill center. Meds-to-beds has played an important first step in this end-to-end solution.
Pharmacy staff verify medications are correctly filled initially and then through a refill center that delivers prescriptions directly to patients. “Because we have this integrated system, we believe we’re the safest pharmacy in the area for children,” Chip Bruce, R.Ph., assistant director of pharmacy at CMH shared in the article. CMH is a powerful model of technology giving innovative ideas the support they need to be successful.
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