Technology has always been a strong interest and passion of mine, and fittingly pharmacy informatics is the area of practice in which I intend to specialize upon graduation. This past spring I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to spend one of my APPE rotations at ASHP working primarily on projects within the section for pharmacy informatics and technology.
I knew the rotation would be a great experience, but the opportune time of my rotation offered me exposures and experiences that far exceeded my already high expectations for the rotation.
As many of you might be aware, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) recently released stage 2 criteria for the meaningful use of electronic medical records which hospitals must meet in order to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments. The criteria were released with an interim period of 60 days in which they were open to receive any feedback regarding the criteria. One of my projects on the rotation was to analyze the released criteria from a clinical pharmacist’s perspective and to help gather feedback to be included in the comment letter written from ASHP to CMS. This was a very exciting project which ultimately has the potential to impact upcoming pharmacy informatics initiatives on a national scale.
ASHP is also currently in the midst of sponsoring and promoting the Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI). ( http://www.ashp.org/ppmi ) The goal of this initiative is to ‘significantly advance the health and well being of patients by developing and disseminating a futuristic practice model that supports the most effective use of pharmacists as direct patient care providers.’ A potential component of ASHPs PPMI initiative is the creation of a software component that measures a patients ‘complexity index’, which will essentially be used as a means to help determine and prioritize which patients within a particular unit need to be seen by a pharmacist. My time at ASHP overlapped with a scheduled two day meeting of the complexity index panel. During this meeting, the panel worked towards reaching a consensus for the criteria which should be aggregated and used by the software to actually determine a patient’s complexity index. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of such an interesting and informative meeting for an exciting project which is in its very early stages.
Another project of mine was to gather and organize information to be used in the creation of a ‘resource page’ for robotics. The webpage is an information resource which can be used by individuals wanting to seek specific information about or learn more about robotics and its use within the pharmaceutical industry. By the completion of the rotation, the robotics resource page was created and published. http://www.ashp.org/menu/MemberCenter/SectionsForums/SOPIT/Resources/Robotics.aspx
These were a few of the interesting projects and experiences from my informatics rotation at ASHP. Technology will continue to be an increasingly vital component of all aspects of our healthcare system. If the opportunity arises for you to do a rotation in this area, I would encourage you to explore it. Even if informatics is not the intended career path for you, it will help you gain a better understanding and appreciation for the field and will undoubtedly help you to become a better practitioner, regardless of the avenue you pursue.