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Catalyst Corner


The Pharmacy Health Information Technology Collaborative has released an updated Roadmap for Pharmacy Health Information Technology Integration in U.S. Health Care. The new roadmap is a revision of the version implemented in 2011-2015 and provides guidance to pharmacy stakeholders, including vendors, payers, policymakers, and provider organizations. The new roadmap is based upon the collaborative’s updated strategic plan that was developed through 2017 and outlines three key goals for implementation in the next three years. Access both documents at www.pharmacyhit.org.
For those who may not know, the Pharmacy HIT Collaborative was formed in 2010 by nine pharmacy professional associations who collectively represent over 250,000 members. The collaborative also includes seven associate members from other pharmacy-related organizations. The collaborative’s founding organizations represent pharmacists in all patient care settings and other facets of pharmacy, including pharmacy education and pharmacy accreditation. Its associate members represent e-prescribing networks, a standards development organization, transaction processing networks, pharmaceutical companies, system vendors, and other organizations that support pharmacists’ services. Founding members include AMCP, ACPE, AACP, ACCP, APhA, ASCP, ASHP, NASPA, and NCPA. Associate members include NCPDP, OutcomesMTM, RelayHealth, ScriptPro, Surescripts, Amgen, and Pfizer.

I had the pleasure of facilitating several meetings for APhA and NCPA in 2008–2009 that eventually led to strategic discussions that birthed the Pharmacy HIT collaborative. Under the leadership of Shelly Spiro, the collaborative has moved forward with an aggressive agenda to ensure pharmacy is integrated into the nation’s HIT landscape. As noted in the roadmap’s synopsis, the Pharmacy HIT Collaborative continues working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to ensure pharmacists are recognized as an integral part of the health IT infrastructure. The ONC has developed a 10-year vision, based on the health IT foundation it has built over the past decade, and released a national interoperability roadmap earlier this year that I have addressed in previous columns. Notably, in its report, Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure, the ONC says, “Individuals should be able to securely share electronic health information with care providers and make use of the information to support their own health and wellness through informed shared decision-making.” The Pharmacy HIT Collaborative’s roadmap is designed to ensure that pharmacy is part of that picture.

In releasing the new roadmap, the Pharmacy HIT Collaborative Council reviewed progress on its 2011–2015 roadmap, which had 10 goals and 92 strategies. That document may be accessed at http://www.pharmacyhit.org/index.php/strategic-plan. Of the 92 strategies, 3% were complete, 67% were partially complete, and 30% had not been addressed. Looking at importance, the group determined 36% were of low priority and 64% were of moderate to high importance. Nine percent were considered no longer important. Moving forward, the council determined that 44 strategies should continue to be a focus of the group, while the other 48 would be best addressed by other groups not relevant to pharmacy. Pharmacy leaders were invited to comment on the council’s findings and were in agreement.

2014–2017 Recommendations

The Pharmacy HIT Collaborative states as its vision: “The US healthcare system is supported by meaningful use of Health Information Technology (HIT) and the integration of pharmacists for the provision of quality patient care.” Its mission is “To advocate and educate key stakeholders regarding the meaningful use of HIT and the inclusion of pharmacists within a technology-enabled integrated health care system.” Three strategic goals were established: access, connectivity, and quality. These goals encompass nine objectives and 24 of the 44 relevant strategies. The goals and objectives, as stated in the strategic plan, are:


Goal 1: Access — Ensure HIT supports pharmacists in health care service delivery.


Objective 1:
Increase pharmacists’ awareness regarding the role and importance of HIT in patient care delivery and the role of the Collaborative.


Objective 2:
Promote pharmacists’ use of HIT needed for patient care provision in all care settings to support the work as a patient care provider.


Objective 3:
Provide guidance to standards development organizations about electronic documentation of pharmacy services.


Goal 2: Connectivity — Achieve pharmacists’ integration within health information exchange.


Objective 1:
Provide direction about pharmacists’ requirement to access and submit clinical information through electronic health records (EHRs) that fosters more effective and efficient care.


Objective 2:
Increase participation by pharmacists in all practice settings in local, state and regional Health Information Exchanges (HIEs).


Objective 3:
Enhance the ability of pharmacists to electronically document the administration of, share information about, and determine the need for population health interventions.


Goal 3: Quality — Support national quality initiatives enabled by HIT.


Objective 1:
Advance the pharmacist’s role in meaningful use of the Electronic Health Record (EHR).


Objective 2:
Develop value sets of standard codes for patient care documentation.


Objective 3:
Support the implementation of clinical quality measures to improve patient care.

In addition to these goals and objectives, an additional 27 recommendations are included in the new roadmap. Many address the recognition of pharmacists as providers, ensuring the pharmacist has access to electronic patient information, registries, and electronic health records. Others address bidirectional data flow and reporting of MTM, adverse drug events, and other patient care services provided by pharmacists. Promotion of practice models and supporting systems that show the pharmacist’s role in achieving meaningful use is also addressed. Certification of pharmacist/pharmacy provider electronic health record (PP-EHR) is recommended on a voluntary basis using a set of conformance criteria. The council is also recommending pharmacist participation in HIEs. Finally, research into how the PP-EHR and HIT can be used to improve quality of care and demonstrate the pharmacist’s value in healthcare and HIT processes is also recommended.


The Roadmap for Pharmacy Health Information Technology Integration in U.S. Health Care
represents a significant and aggressive plan that becomes even more important given the current movement toward value-based reimbursement and care and the push toward pharmacist provider status. All of its objectives should be of interest to pharmacy system vendors and service providers. I encourage you to take time to download the synopsis and the complete report, review it, and incorporate it into to your own strategic planning. CT


Marsha K. Millonig, R.Ph., M.B.A., is president of Catalyst Enterprises in Eagan, Minn. The firm provides consulting, research, and writing services to help healthcare industry players provide services more efficiently and implement new services for future growth. The author can be reached at mmillonig@catalystenterprises.net.