HIT expands pharmacy’s role in health care

Steve Friedman of PDX-NHIN-Rx.com, Christopher Thomsen of Kirby Lester and David Yakimischak of Surescripts, pictured above, discuss the future of pharmacy HIT at an Insight Session on Monday.

BOSTON — Pharmacy health information technology has come a long way in the past five years, but there is still a significant amount of opportunity for pharmacy operations to plug into the HIT network — opportunities that will augment pharmacy’s value to the healthcare system in improving adherence and reducing abandonment. And as pharmacy evolves into more of a service industry, pharmacy’s interconnectivity with other healthcare stakeholders will become critical. 

Christoper Thomsen, VP business development at Kirby Lester; Steve Friedman, VP pharmaceutical trade relations at PDX-NHIN-Rx.com; and David Yakimischak, general manager of medication network services at Surescripts joined together as part of the Insight Session titled “The Missing Connection: Pharmacy HIT Update” on Monday morning.

HIT is becoming a crucial element in pharmacy, Friedman said, particularly in generic utilization, specialty medicines, medication adherence, MTM, Part D Star ratings, network access, regulatory issues and global partnerships. In order to be competitive today, a pharmacy has to have an advanced technology platform that’s scalable and geographically dispersed, as well as has a mobile, clinical exchange as a patient-focused IT platform, he said. 

There is already significant traction in such areas as e-prescribing. In the next five years, about 80% to 90% of the prescriptions in the country will be routed through electronic prescribing, Yakimischak said, from a base of more than half of prescriptions in the country last year. 

“HIT is one of the key issues affecting the expanding role of pharmacy,” Thomsen said. “We’ve done an excellent job in terms of pharmacy with technologies in 20 years,” he added, especially for the first 20 ft. where the order is entered, filled and picked up. “We need to start paying attention now to the last 10 ft., after we’ve prepared the prescription and got all of that information, how do we get that to the patient effectively?” Thomsen asked. The focus should be on capturing the relevant health information that comes through the pharmacy so that the pharmacist can share it in a meaningful and useful way with the patient, Thomsen said. 

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