Is Health Information Technology Making The Pharmaceutical Industry Safer?

pharmacy assistant

This is a guest post by Tasia Galimi.

Pharmacies carry some major responsibilities on their shoulders: Much patient care comes down to the services provided by a pharmacy and the pharmacy’s handling of patients’ sensitive medical data. Recent advancements in technology are being used to minimize the chances for human error in the pharmaceutical practice.

Here is what you need to know about how health information technology is making the pharmaceutical industry safer:

Health Information Technology (HIT)

We know that information technology (IT) has been around for a while, bettering businesses and other institutions. Health information technology (HIT) may be defined as any method of information processing by way of computer software and/or hardware, for the purpose of storing, sharing, and retrieving data that may be used to analyze and communicate healthcare information. Because HIT is targeted specifically at the healthcare industry and proven to be a highly effective means of conducting healthcare services, the federal government is now putting a lot of pressure on the pharmacy industry to incorporate modern HIT into the practice.

The benefits of HIT in the pharmaceutical industry

Specifically, what types of improvements can we expect to see in the pharmaceutical industry due to HIT? For starters, patient privacy is a major consideration. Data that is transferred electronically is much better privacy-protected than data that is transmitted either verbally or by fax or mail. Additionally, HIT can significantly increase patient safety, in a number of ways: reducing the need to rely on human memory, enforcing safety procedures, protocols, and functions, standardizing the use of industry terminology, and minimizing the unnecessary exchange of data.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Reports

The positive effects of HIT on the pharmaceutical industry have been extensively studied by the IOM, and put into a series of two reports: the first report, To Err is Human, outlines specifics regarding the integration of HIT into the industry, while the second report, Crossing the Quality Chasm, explores more thoroughly the means by which clinical data is accessed and subsequent decisions are made in light of this data.

The Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI)

Established by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), this initiative sets out to completely revolutionize the practice of pharmacy by systematically evaluating current standards of pharmacy care with the primary goal being to find ways to implement HIT for the betterment of the practice. Additionally, the PPMI will provide pharmacies with recommendations, guidelines, and guidance when it comes to incorporating the new HIT into pharmacy practice and retiring the outdated methods.

Health information technology could well transform the role of the pharmacy, as it seems we are only just seeing the beginning of its implications for the industry. Only the future will tell what these changes will develop into, but one thing we know for certain right now is that HIT is not going away.

Author Bio: Tasia Galimi is a health IT specialist in charge of project management jobs and projects. She transitioned from small business IT to healthcare 7 years ago and has never looked back.

Photo credit: pharmacy assistant image courtesy of Lower Columbia College via photopin cc

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *