I happened across this blog on HIT Consultant describing seven trends in healthcare IT regarding the health IT operational burden. It is worthy of a read and made me think about how those burdens are reflected in pharmacy informatics.
Most significantly, the blog presented a graphic that broke down IT operational burden into five categories and assigned a portion of operational burden to each, based on the responses of CIOs to a survey:
- Health IT resource retention and budget– 65% - are you seeing times when IT resources you require are just not available?
- Management of demand and prioritization while executing multiple initiatives – 11% - are pharmacy IT needs taking a back seat to other demands placed on the IT organization?
- Provider burnout and resignation in connection with EHR inefficiency – 9% - are some of the initiatives to deal with physician burnout related to the EHR creating additional burden on the pharmacy staff?
- Alignment of IT with maximizing value-based care initiatives– 8% - how does this affect the way IT systems behave and are used in your institution?
- Disruption of IT Services (including cybersecurity issues) – 7% - how involved is your IT organization in the management of IT device failures for pharmacy automation? Is this a burden that the pharmacy ultimately bears? If so, what needs to change to lighten that load?
Further, the blog went on to describe seven trends to watch in terms of that burden:
- The great resignation is affecting the ability to meet operational demands – this was up 10% from 2021. How does this affect your ability to develop working relationships within your organization? Do you find yourself having to constantly retrain IT support staff on your needs?
- IT managers are looking for flexible staffing options to handle shifting demands – this, too, could affect the IT support a pharmacy has to assume on its own behalf.
- Healthcare leaders are confirming ROI from current IT Investments – “getting the most out of existing IT purchases ranked as the highest CIO priority for IT-related financial goals” – this seems to align with what I have been hearing and reading about difficulties in getting the systems we want and being “encouraged” to use the “systems we have” irrespective of the value they may bring.
- Alignment of IT spending and mission-critical activities – interestingly, the top two “mission-critical events” were EHR version upgrades and upgrades to support virtual care. Where does that leave pharmacy priorities?
- Ongoing frustrations from end users causing EHR burnout – the top two items were inefficient workflows and ineffective ticket resolution. How does that align with your experience in dealing with pharmacy automation?
- Continuing emphasis to catch-up on operational back-logs – IT organizations are still catching up to upgrades and operational alignments that were put on hold with COVID.
- Cybersecurity – media attention and conference agendas indicate that this remains a hot topic for IT organizations. Are pharmacy automation options part of the cause, or part of the solution? Does the way users operate pharmacy automation affect the answer to that question?
I know I asked a lot of questions and didn’t provide many answers in this blog; but I think it is worthwhile to think about how these issues affect our pharmacy informatics operations. What do you think?
As always, the comments in this blog reflect my thoughts and not necessarily those of ASHP or of my employer.
Dennis A. Tribble, PharmD, FASHP
Ormond Beach, FL