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Dec 6, 2010

Pharmacist & Technology Bloggers discuss the industry - technology current state.


Special Guests:

About John Poikonen, Pharm.D.
Director of Clinical Informatics
UMass Memorial MedicalCenter

John has held numerous positions as a pharmacy administrator, informatics and patient safety leader, and positions in information systems research, development, and marketing. During the 1980s, he was a director of pharmacy for a contract pharmacy management firm. He joined Megasource Clinical Systems as its first pharmacist and helped grow the hospital pharmacy software system to over 300 clients prior to its sale to Cerner.


 About Jerry Fahrni Pharm. D.

Jerry has been a licensed pharmacist in California since obtaining his Pharm.D. degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 1997. Jerry's pharmacy experience is almost exclusively hospital based totaling nine years of inpatient pharmacy, including a couple of years as a pediatric pharmacist and five years of critical care medicine. Jerry is a Product Manager for a Pharmacy Technology & Automation company in Spokane WA.

Discussion Based on Jerry Fahrni’s blog post:

Who’s to blame for the lack of advancement in pharmacy automation and technology?


Without question there is a lack of advanced automation and technology in multiple pharmacy settings:


·         Acute care pharmacy setting

·         Independent Pharmacy / Community

·         Long-Term Care Pharmacy

·         Specialty Pharmacy


Development and advancement of pharmacy technology should be a key component of any plan to change the current pharmacy practice model

What are the causes of the lack of innovation in pharmacy?


**pharmacy technology is either poorly designed for the needs of the pharmacy or the pharmacy in which it is used has a poorly designed workflow that doesn’t take advantage of it.

**Why is that?

**Who’s to blame; someone, anyone, no one?

System Designers/ Thought Leadership Pharmacy Technologists

**Understanding that the designers of pharmacy automation and technology are not the limiting factor in the advancement of pharmacy practice

Ideas and thought processes are clearly ahead of the current thinking in healthcare, specifically pharmacy.

** why pharmacy is slow to consider the future, and even slower to adopt new technologies


Possible Reasons?


There is a clear lack of pharmacist involvement in the development of pharmacy automation and technology – Sure there are some pharmacists that dabble in software development, or play around with new technologies, but overall there appears to be little interest within the profession.


Meetings where informatics sessions have very few attendees, while the clinical sessions are bursting at the seams with pharmacists trying to get a peek at the latest information for disease state management, clinical application, etc.

Does healthcare administration & Pharmacy owners fail to see the big picture – Hospital administration often fails to see the advantages of automation and technology implementation in the pharmacy.

How do you improve pharmacy operations? You streamline the distribution process, and one way to do that is through judicious use of automation and technology.


What does improved pharmacy operations get you? Efficiency, which translates to more pharmacist time for clinical activities. What does increased pharmacist clinical activity get you?

Fewer drug misadventures, better and safer patient care, and a significant cost savings to the healthcare system. Simple, logical, reasonable thought, but rare in the healthcare environment.

Is there a lack of pharmacy leadership from the top down??

Detriment to innovation and development is being in a comfort zone.

Do vendors follow the (same old / same old) industry and fear innovation?

Are there key features and concepts of the technology we have at our disposal which are refused to implement into daily operations based on the status-quo and what’s known??

The vendors create a product, provide the end users with training, produce training manuals and videos, have listservs for us to bounce ideas off other users and give us “help desks” that we can access for additional information when we get ourselves in trouble. What else can Vendors do to help innovation in pharmacy?


Todd S. Eury

Executive Director

 Pharmacy Technology Resource, LLC. 

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