Digital Pharmacy

4 Key Takeaways on Utilizing Digital Health for Patient Care from our panelist at DHX Virtual 2020

By Komal Patel,  Clinical Pharmacist, Catalia Health
Scott Kjelson, Assistant Professor, Nova Southern University and Host, The Distruptive Front 
Luke Tso, Sr. Manager, Product Development, OptumRx 
Varun Goyal, CEO and Co-Founder

Technology is here whether it is cloud infrastructure, or the ‘pipes’ for data flow and of course AI and Machine Learning to augment what pharmacists and patients can do manually.  Digital health is providing connectivity between clinicians and patients, automation for routine tasks and so on. Yes integrating new solutions with existing pharmacy software or EMR systems may not seem as simple at times, but its getting better.  Because true value is in the integrated workflows for clinicians and patients.

Data needs to get there.  Standards like FHIR are better established now so patient data exchange for one universal patient record with up to date medication list and more can take place.  Data blocking legislation is going to provide the needed stick for healthcare organizations to share data openly based on patient requests.

Incentives are evolving, focus on Pill dispensing is driven by revenue needs of pharmacies.  Regulatory changes in terms of Provider status for Pharmacists is a move in the right direction based on state, so they can get reimbursed for more than just MTM consults.

Pharmacists and Digital Health. There are enough studies that have shown pharmacists to have more than paid for themselves in terms of preventing potential complications from polypharmacy as part of a multi-disciplinary care team, delayed patients from needing dialysis and so on.  In terms of how pharmacists can get started, depending on how and what you are interested in:

  • Partner up with a techie so the marriage of clinical expertise and technology can power up something new and innovative
  • Bring potential technology solutions to your organizations:
    1. Explore careers in virtual care by either working with vendors or getting on such platforms
    2. Educate your pharmacy staff on buzzword technology terms so that they start to feel more comfortable around new applications and are excited about using these tools in their patient care practice
    3. Stress to your staff that your institution isn’t looking to adopt technology as a way to replace them, but that it sees the technology as a way to enhance and augment the way they practice 
    4. Ensure the vendors you select provide plenty of hands-on training and mentoring during the initial launch weeks to get your staff feeling comfortable with the tech your institution just invested in