Bringing pharmacists into the digital future

Digitally empowered pharmacists

PSA has unveiled a new digital health report, Connecting the dots: Digitally empowered pharmacists, at the PSA19 conference.

The report, funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency, describes how digital health initiatives and technological transformation will empower pharmacists to be more accountable and responsible for medicine safety and efficacy.

PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said the transformation to a more digital workplace was long overdue.

As highlighted in PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report, medicine-related problems cause 250,000 hospital admissions and 400,000 emergency department presentations in Australia each year, costing the healthcare system $1.4 billion annually. 

‘Gaps in information and time delays in accessing important information are the two most significant factors contributing to medicine misadventure,’ he said.

‘This transformation will connect the dots of a currently fragmented health system, where health professionals such as pharmacists have had to make health decisions without accessing sometimes critical health information.’

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s program of work, particularly in medicine safety, will drive this transformation. This program of work strongly aligns with system changes needed to achieve the outcomes identified in PSA’s Pharmacists in 2023 report. 

Key projects which will transform care include: electronic prescriptions; real-time prescription monitoring; pharmacist input into My Health Record; enhanced incident reporting capabilities, improving pharmacovigilance; and improved medicine information for consumers.

The implementation of these systems will help to ensure: 

  • instant, universal availability of pivotal health information
  • increased transparency
  • increased recognition of pharmacists’ contribution
  • more empowered consumers
  • increased accessibility of care.

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s Chief Clinical Health Information Officer, Angela Ryan, says increasing the safe and quality use of medicines is a priority area of the National Digital Health Strategy, approved by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council in 2017.

‘All healthcare providers, including pharmacists, GPs and specialists, play a role in supporting the safe use of medicines by their patients. The Australian Digital Health Agency is collaborating with governments and industry on digital solutions that will support healthcare providers to manage their patients’ medicines,’ she said.

Connecting the Dots: Digitally empowered pharmacists provides readers with multiple case examples which describe a ‘new normal’ of seamless healthcare, protecting medicine safety, backed by the power of digital health. These examples will help pharmacists understand the digital transformation which is taking place and contextualise them to real, tangible patient examples.

View the full report here.