Telepharmacy, it’s not just a made-up word

radionewsThe definition of telemedicine is “the use of telecommunication technologies to deliver medical information and services to locations at a distance from the care giver or educator.” So what’s the definition of telepharmacy? I’m not quite sure, but replacing “medical information and services” with “pharmacy information and services” seems reasonable.

I saw a lot of interest in telepharmacy at the ASHP Midyear meeting in New Orleans last month. Based on all the activity one might think it’s a new concept. Au contraire, telemedicine has been around since at least the 1960’s, when NASA built this technology into spacecraft and astronauts’ suits to monitor physiological parameters. Crud, one could argue that the concept has been around much longer than that (see image to the right from April 1924).

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GPhA reveals the ARI to address drug shortages

Did you know there was a Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA)? Well, if you did you’re a step ahead of me because I’d never heard of them until today. According to the GPhA website they represent "the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceutical products, manufacturers and distributors of bulk active pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic pharmaceutical industry. GPhA members manufacture the vast majority of all affordable pharmaceuticals dispensed in the United States. Our products are used in nearly two billion prescriptions every year."

Their Board of Director’s and Executive Committee is a who’s who of generic pharmaceutical manufacturers. Go figure.

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Secundum artem. Yeah, not so much

imageMerriam-Webster defines secundum artem as "according to the accepted practice of a profession or trade". In pharmacy it typically goes hand in hand with the preparation of extemporaneous compounds, i.e. when you have to make something from scratch. Pharmacists have been doing this since the profession began. Unfortunately it’s a dying art not only because of lack of interest from younger pharmacists, but secondary to increased regulation and bureaucratic red tape as well. It’s a real shame. To put it in perspective it would be like surgeons no longer performing surgery by hand because of the invention of the da Vinci Robot.

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Webinar: Effective Pharmacy Interactions with ‘The C-Suite’

I think a key for the future of pharmacy will be for pharmacy leaders to learn how to engage the C-Suite within their own healthcare system. That makes the content of this webinar from Pharmacy OneSource particularly interesting.

Wednesday, December 14th: "Effective Pharmacy Interactions with ‘The C-Suite’"
Jim Jorgenson, RPh, MS, FASHP

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Jim Jorgenson, Chief Pharmacy Officer and Vice President of Indiana University Health, will provide the pharmacist with background information about the current healthcare environment, with an emphasis on how the hospital/health-system and priorities of the C-Suite are affected. The overall goal is to enable the pharmacist to gain knowledge and confidence in preparation to present to the C-Suite on topics affecting pharmacy and the medication use process. Specific case examples of presentations that worked and did not work will be provided.
Effective Pharmacy Interactions with ‘The C-Suite’
Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

How to make a profession vanish into thin air

magicThere appears to be a push in the pharmacy world to expand residency programs so “that, by 2020, postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) residency training should be required for entry into practice for all pharmacists who will serve in direct patient care roles.” This according to a recent article in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. In addition the article states that “ASHP conducted a survey to determine if health systems were requiring specialized residency training—now known as postgraduate year 2 (PGY2) residency training—for clinical specialist positions10; 15% of the respondents indicated that such specialized training was required, and 67% indicated that a lesser-trained pharmacist would be hired to fill a clinical specialist position only if a candidate with specialized training could not be found.”  Basically acute care pharmacies are looking for pharmacists with more education instead of looking for good pharmacists.

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