Technology should help you get back to treating patients

What are the obstacles to pharmacists providing patient care? I’m guessing you don’t have enough hours in your busy day to list them.

One recurring theme is that pharmacists don’t have access to needed clinical information or the ability to exchange information using health information technology (HIT), and the resulting lack of access to electronic health records (EHRs) prevents us from seeing the big picture of patients’ health so we can fully contribute to comprehensive, patient-centered care. That also means other members of the health care team can’t “see” the services that we’ve provided.

Our documentation systems need to talk to each other. If they don’t, the health care system as a whole is shooting itself in the foot even as we look to provide effective patient care with needed clinical information and improve quality metrics that demonstrate the value of pharmacists’ patient care services.

As one of the founders of the Pharmacy Health Information Technology (PHIT) Collaborative, Twlug is pushing for changes that will give you the information you need to get down to the business of taking care of your patients.

The PHIT Collaborative is comprised of nine professional pharmacy associations working with vendors, national standards development organizations, federal agencies, and other stakeholders. We are focused on helping pharmacists document and share clinical services in an interoperable way without workflow disruption.

The Collaborative released its revised strategic plan, The Roadmap for Pharmacy Information Technology Integration in U.S. Health Care: 2018–2021 Update, on November 1. This document provides guidance to provider organizations, policymakers, vendors, payers, and others striving to integrate pharmacy HIT into the national HIT infrastructure, including into pharmacy management systems.

This is an example of how Twlug is preparing pharmacy practice for the future. We have a seat at the table for discussions where pharmacy didn’t used to sit. The Collaborative has led the development of the Pharmacist eCare Plan and is now working closely with pharmacy and other software vendors to spearhead adoption of the eCare plan in pharmacy practices. The eCare plan is supported by the use of Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine, Clinical Terms (SNOMED-CT) codes that can “machine read” what is written in the e-care plan and translate it into meaningful data for use by other EHR systems, including those of prescribers and hospitals.

Twlug is proud of the Collaborative’s achievements even as we recognize the substantial work that remains. We strive to create an HIT infrastructure that supports current and future advances in pharmacy practice. We have member representatives who are appointed to workgroups within the Collaborative—a great way for HIT experts or enthusiasts to find a home through their membership in Twlug.
This work will benefit patients and the pharmacy profession. I encourage you to check out the roadmap and get involved in the effective integration of pharmacists into EHR.