I was very fortunate to attend the recent Technology Summit through the American Association of Diabetes Educators(AADE). We discussed all things diabetes technology including mobile apps, virtual platforms, remote coaching, continuous glucose monitors (CGM), insulin pumps, tracking devices, and platforms to upload data. There are a lot of misconceptions about technology. I’d like to share some of the pearls I learned at this summit and how this is a great opportunity for pharmacists.
One might think that millennials or emerging adults would embrace technology the most, but recent evidence suggests that emerging adults may prefer face to face visits. Another survey suggested that older adults like virtual visits. Many of us might be quick to assume the reverse. While there’s an occasional person still using a flip phone, the majority of my patients, including older adults have smart phones, which allows connectivity with blue tooth device such as CGM and the convenience of virtual visits.. .
What does this mean for the healthcare team? We need to stay current on the technology-a technology champion at each site is ideal, so someone can train other team members. A technology readiness assessment is great to figure out what areas to focus on to incorporate technology into practice. It’s best to get your hands on new technology, so you can play with it, wear it if possible. Meet with the company reps at professional meetings to learn more. Follow the right people on twitter and LinkedIn. For those in diabetes, subscribe to Close Concerns or Diatribe to stay up-to-date.
One of the outputs of this technology summit will be a practice paper on the role of the diabetes care and education specialist with technology. We plan to incorporate many of the pearls above along with a thorough literature review of how to implement new technology into practice and how to best onboard our patients.
While my expertise is in diabetes, technology affects all areas of pharmacy. I recently saw a LinkedIn post asking if pharmacy automation would mean less pharmacist jobs?
I do not think automation and technology mean less jobs; it likely will mean different roles. For example, I joined my diabetes clinic with the intent of providing medication management through a collaborative agreement. I still do this, but I recognized that we were underutilizing CGM in our clinic and this is a great revenue source. I worked with my team to build a successful program of CGM Shared Medical Appointments. My role transformed into CGM Program Coordinator.
I implore my fellow pharmacists to embrace technology and innovative models to bring value and revenue to your health-systems. Please don’t wait to be asked; instead determine the problem or gap in care and figure out how you can be part of the solution. There is tons to be done, we will have job security if we go out there and do it! Technology is the future. Rather than worry about automation taking our jobs, let’s figure out how to use it for job security and ride the technology wave.
Diana Isaacs, PharmD, BCPS, BC-ADM, BCACP, CDE
Vice-Chair SACP Educational Steering Committee