Health IT vital to medication therapy, NACDS tells congressional panel

ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a new plea to Congress, the chain pharmacy industry renewed its support for the rapid nationwide adoption of health information technology as a major tool in the nation’s drive to improve patient compliance with medication therapy.


That call came in written testimony provided Tuesday by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores to the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. The panel held a hearing Tuesday on “Efforts to Promote the Adoption and Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology [HIT].”



NACDS’ statements to the panel are in line with its ongoing campaign “to raise awareness of pharmacy's ability to help patients take their medications correctly, to save and improve lives and reduce healthcare costs,” the group noted. Key to that effort, the pharmacy group told members of Congress, will be “technology-based strategies such as electronic prescribing and electronic medication records.



“Chain pharmacy has been on the leading edge of the adoption of HIT for many years,” NACDS wrote. “We have been actively involved in fostering the use of technology to improve the quality of patient care and developing standards to allow the exponential growth of HIT in pharmacy practice.”



Pharmacy HIT systems, added the group in its testimony, “assist pharmacy with providing critical patient care services such as medication therapy management and evaluation of patients' adherence to prescribed drug therapy regimens, in addition to providing pharmacists with information on patients' prescribed drugs, potential drug-to-drug interactions, and drug dosing.”



NACDS urged the inclusion of pharmacy in programs designed to foster widespread HIT adoption. “As the most consumer-accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy's critical role should be recognized in the development of an interoperable healthcare system,” the organization testified. “As such, pharmacies should be considered for any grant or incentive funding that fosters further adoption of HIT.”


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