Pharmacy goals, a reality check and insanity – what the heck are we doing?

I’ve been conversing with several pharmacists about the future of pharmacy practice, specifically about the PPMI developed earlier this year by ASHP. This is a sharp group of people, but what I continually hear is the same thing I’ve heard for a number of years. While I’m not as experienced as many of my esteemed colleagues due to a late start to my career, I have worked in several acute care facilities. I’m not sure who said it, but Einstein gets credit for defining insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The literature presented in support of a new practice model is, in reality, based on current practice. It’s all looking at how best to apply the pharmacist’s current knowledge and resources to the current practice model. Economic outcomes improved by a pharmacist; great, but not new. Improved patient outcomes with a pharmacist in a team approach; awesome, but not new. Use a pharmacist as a prescriber; cool idea, but not new. These models are easily ten years old and we’re still talking about them as if they were new ideas. See a trend here? I think this is exactly what Einstein had in mind when he defined insanity.
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Who’s to blame for the lack of advancement in pharmacy automation and technology?

Without question there is a lack of advanced automation and technology in the acute care pharmacy setting. Spend some time in several acute care pharmacies if you don’t believe me. There’s clearly a need for it, but it’s just not being used.

I am a fan of automation and technology in any setting, but especially in the acute care pharmacy. I believe that the continued use, development and advancement of pharmacy technology should be a key component of any plan to change the current pharmacy practice model. Unfortunately, the situation is problematic because current pharmacy technology is either poorly designed for the needs of the pharmacy or the pharmacy in which it is used has a poorly designed workflow that doesn’t take advantage of it. Why is that? Who’s to blame; someone, anyone, no one? Valid questions.
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Thoughts on the #PPMI Twitterchat

ASHP and the ASHP Foundation have undertaken an initiative to change the way pharmacists practice pharmacy. And that initiative is called The Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI); go figure. It’s quite an aggressive goal and one that I hope results in some great ideas on how to get pharmacists to the bedside where they have been shown to improve patient care and save hospitals money. Of course I’m banking on judicious use of technology to help lead the way, but that’s just my bias speaking.
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