#ASHPMidyear day one comes to an end

Each day at ASHP Midyear offers some great experiences, and today was no exception.

I spent a good part of my first morning at the Talyst User Group Meeting. It’s encouraging to speak with other pharmacists that use pharmacy automation and technology in interesting ways. User Groups are a great way to get focused information from end users. I always take something away from groups like this. I wish there was a way to apply the format to other areas of pharmacy informatics.

Following the user group meeting I spent some time roaming around the exhibits. Yes, before they’re open “to the public”; vendor badge. While the exhibits weren’t complete, they certainly offered a glimpse of what I can expect for the rest of the week. It also gave a me a good idea of who I’d like to visit and spend some time talking too. It’s always interesting to talk with the vendors in person. Sometimes you can get information that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

I did manage to attend a single session today titled A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Telepharmacy. I haven’t spent much time learning about telepharmacy so I thought this would be a good opportunity to gain some knowledge. To my surprise it turns out that telepharmacy isn’t at all what I thought it was. One of the first slides in the presentation defined telepharmacy as “a central pharmacy, either retail or associated with a hospital, is connected via computer, audio, and video link to one or more remote sites. A licensed pharmacist at the central site conducts remote order entry and then supervises the dispensing of medication at the remote site through the use of video conferencing technology.” (Darryl Rich, The Joint Commission, 2007). Huh? I thought telepharmacy would represent a more clinical approach to patient care through the use of audio and video.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services defines telemedicine as “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s health. Electronic communication means the use of interactive telecommunications equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site.” I assumed telepharmacy would basically be the same thing. Guess not. The Joint Commission definition of telepharmacy stated above is simply remote checking. I’m not sure I like that.

At least my day ended on a positive note. I had dinner with a friend at a great little Mexican restaurant called Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney. We spent a couple of hours talking about all kinds of stuff including pharmacy, informatics/automation and life. Good stuff.

Here’s looking forward to tomorrow.

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