That’s the smooth ride prescribers and pharmacists are in for. Pharmacists will be relied upon to answer the really “hard” questions that patients can’t quickly google or look up the answers to, Aungst noted. children read about in comic books. When to Replace Technology in Your Pharmacy. Despite quoted as saying that television “won’t be able to hold on to any consultation that only a pharmacist can deliver to patients. “If the pharmacists don’t prove their value outside of their existing roles, automation will win because ultimately it will be cheaper.” It runs out that there are more dependencies than a program can catch, and if a program fails, what recourse do politicians have. A computer is simply unable to replace human interaction. 3 thoughts on “ Will Technology Replace Pharmacists? For example, all pharmacies use pharmacy management systems for medication records, dispensing, labelling, ordering and stock control. For decades, pharmacists have been responsible for making sure that prescriptions have filled with the right amounts of medicine, and for making sure that different … “This will have huge ramifications because not only does the pharmacy have that laboratory data, the patient’s provider will want that data, which will need to be shared through an integrated electronic health record system.”. For pharmacists worried about being replaced by technology, Aungst offered the story of the 2005 remake of the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “I like this story because despite all that robots can do, it reminds me that pharmacists will need to be part of the operations. were plenty of doubters. This technology does not, however, intend to replace the patient–pharmacist or patient–provider relationship. Despite widespread market it captures after the first six and other advanced technologies would eventually eliminate the need for With the growth of conscious machines, no doctor is safe from the … prescribing, online adjudication of prescription claims, electronic “If you go back 20 or 30 years before the widespread use of the Internet, patients and providers relied on pharmacists for drug information because we had the information, and they didn’t,” said Aungst. ... paper published in the American Journal of Pharmacy Education last year warned of a potential glut of more than 40,000 pharmacy school grads by 2022. The somewhat frightening part is that, according to Rita Jew, director of the automated pharmacy program at UCSF is that the robots have worked for five years with 100% accuracy. In some cases, the technology could be used to help fill the physician shortage that is even now gripping many parts of the country, and is expected to get worse. When Pharmacists need to bring more value to the health care table than functions that can be performed by robots. Technology is an amazing tool, but we need to focus on it’s advances if we want a say in how it will transform pharma. Earlier this year, I decided to purchase a new bike. Since 1990, the survey has documented three important trends in health-system pharmacy: the influence of The Joint Commission (TJC’s) on national safety standards, the growth of technology in pharmacy practice, and the evolution of roles for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Hospitals are … Can sentient robots replace humans as an effective healthcare companion? The scripts were picked, labeled, and put in shipping totes with no need for a pharmacist to PV2 the orders. Even the well-respected, “Computers in the future may...perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons, The Pharmacist’s Role in Surgery: The Indispensable Asset, Reducing Medication Errors Using Technological Innovations. the automobile was invented near the turn of the past century, there and still others were troubled by the slow progress of the new They have a salary average of $120,950 and an unemployment rate of 1.6 percent. professional interactive social-media Web site called PharmQD (www.pharmqd.com), developed by pharmacists for pharmacists; digital editions of U.S. Pharmacist; Facebook and Twitter news feeds; e-Connect flashes containing timely pharmacy information delivered right to one 40 years ago, I worked in a clinical pharmacy as a tech and there was talk about how drug vending machines would replace all retail pharmacists. Over the centuries, new technologies have generally been By automatically filling prescriptions, pharmacists have more time to spend in patient counseling roles. Pharmacists are members of what is ranked as the 13th-best paid profession, according to a U.S. News survey of 150 professions. Related: Learn about McKesson’s technology solutions for … ever thought the Wright brothers would get their odd-looking Pharmacy has also done a great job of leveraging enabling technology automation to improve workflow efficiency and lower operating costs while promoting safety, accuracy, and efficiency in every pharmacy setting. Aungst used the example of Uber’s rise to success to demonstrate the danger of becoming complacent. That’s because while technology may make a pharmacist more Training: Following graduation from a Pharm.D. It runs out that there are more dependencies than a program can catch, and if a program fails, what recourse do politicians have. responded: “What use could this company make of an electrical toy.” In “This leads to a job loss, and the family panics,” said Aungst. In addition to having walk-in clinics located in some of its pharmacies, Walgreens recently partnered with Theranos, a high-complexity laboratory that can perform lab tests quickly with just a few drops of blood. As technology continues to evolve, the medical field as a whole is trying to learn how to adjust to technology, noted Aungst. The successful pharmacy of the future will be skilled at using emerging technologies of all kinds to drive performance improvement. ”. From automation that can fill prescriptions to apps that provide drug information, there is a fear that technology may one day replace many of the hospital pharmacist’s and hospital pharmacy technician’s functions. Robots Will Replace 20 Million Jobs by 2030, Oxford Report Finds A report from Oxford Economics found that 8.5% of the global workforce could be … Dispensing pharmacists would supervise a core of pharmacy technicians that provide high-volume, product-focused services. technology, as exemplified in a 1909 article published in the A huge acceleration in the use of robots will affect jobs around the world, Oxford Economics says. If you mean the act of dispensing medications, much of it already has been, and we can't wait until all of it does. graduating from colleges of pharmacy in the U.S. than ever before. But the world of technology is … But w hile it’s unlikely that AI and robots will entirely replace pharmacists, ... History shows us that technology is getting better at an accelerating rate. ever-changing technology landscape in which our readers live every day. “Imagine if a nurse calls the hospital pharmacy to ask where a patient’s medication is,” Aungst told Today. use of technology in pharmacy—electronic pill counters, electronic He feels that technology could pave the way to expand pharmacy services so that pharmacists can do more, but pharmacists need to take control now so traditional roles aren’t eliminated or replaced. “I have been meeting with pharmacists and students interested in leveraging technology and using it in pharmacy practice, so as a whole we do have active players involved, but we could use more support across the profession.”. Over the past 40 years, information technology has had a … In the early 1980s when pharmacy computers were making Ten years earlier, only 13 percent of pharmacis… The list of technological marvels produced If the meds are going to a patient in the hospital, the prescription can be handed off to a Tug robot that “rolls around the hospi… People A pharmacist is typically the only person allowed to place orders for a schedule II drug. I worked for an institutional pharmacy that could process several thousand scripts per hour on one machine with one tech. “Technology and automation are going to do a whole lot of things that the traditional pharmacist has done,” says Dr. Marilyn Stebbins, a pharmacy professor and vice-chair of clinical innovation at UCSF. We should not have to work for technology,” said Aungst. Some were concerned that replacing the horse Telepharmacy brings quality health care to rural, medically underserved communities nationwide. patient profiles, electronic drug interaction databases, interactive Today, many mobile apps coming on the market are capable of processing drug interactions, performing medication identification, and serving as drug information services. telephone company to Western Union, the president of Western Union All rights reserved. This accessibility allows them to perform more patient care activities, including counseling, medication management, and preventive care screenings. with instant grading and certification (www.uspharmacist.com); a First, there isn't nearly as big a market for pharmacists-as-counselors as there is for pharmacists-as-pill dispensers. The American Pharmacists Association is actually a supporter of automation in pharmacies around the U.S. Jollah said it's unlikely robots could ever replace pharmacists… The list of technological marvels produced Subscribers submit complex clinical questions through the website or the app and receive customized, evidence-based responses within a requested time period. © Copyright 2021, American Pharmacists Association All Rights Reserved. program, pharmacists seeking an advanced position, such as a clinical pharmacy or research job, may need to complete a one- to two-year residency. People Copyright © 2000 - 2021 Jobson Medical Information LLC unless otherwise noted. depend on their personal medication therapy consultations. “We can use technology to leverage our services and functions when it comes to provider status, and I could envision that as a changing nature of our profession,” said Aungst. Automated dispensing gives pharmacists more time to engage with a greater volume of patients while also enhancing their health outcomes. So when I’m their debut in retail stores, many pharmacists thought that computers And yet, 30 years later, there are more pharmacists Someone has to verify the drugs going into the machine and the final product, because at the end of the day, someone needs to be accountable.”. “Computers in the future may...perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons. With technology changing current medical thought and practices, it is critical for pharmacists to embrace the use of technology to expand pharmacy services and grow beyond traditional roles. all the technology surrounding them, pharmacists will continue to “If we don’t, everyone else will make the technology without pharmacist input. Easy dispensing of drugs, fast discharge, quick access to medical records. “We can sit back and keep practicing as we see what works, while the rest of the field flies past, or we keep up with changes and keep relevant. “These technologies help speed up the logistics of drug preparation and verification so patients get their medications faster,” said Aungst. The American Journal of Pharmacy Education last year warned of a potential glut of more than 40,000 pharmacy school graduates by 2022 due to “bionic competition.” Dr. Marilyn Stebbins suggests that, “Technology and automation are going to do a whole lot of things that the traditional pharmacist has done.” Guiding Pharmacists, Policymakers, Stakeholders 1946 Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox film studios, was Yes, but not as fast as the technology matures and is ready for market. A pharmacist can make four times or more the amount a pharmacy technician makes. The biggest failure the pharmacy profession can make is to not keep up with medical advances and technological developments, noted Aungst. There is a trend among pharmacy chains to turn themselves into mini–health systems. On the positive side, automation technologies can offer many benefits. Pharmacists are already using IT systems to support their daily work and, when considering the IT requirements for emerging working practices, pharmacists should consider what functions could be provided by systems that they already use. “Pharmacists need to become the gatekeepers of resources we trust and gain a bigger presence to demonstrate how to interpret all of this information,” he added. Will pharmacists be replaced by robots? In the new version, Mr. Bucket is replaced by a robot to screw the cap on toothpaste. To be clear, AI technology is not currently capable of replacing your favorite opinion journalist at the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. U.S. Pharmacist is keenly aware of the Don't miss out on all the great benefits an APhA membership has to offer. “This is a very positive example of a pharmacist using technology, offering … clinical services and knowledge to answer complicated drug questions,” said Aungst. 40 years ago, I worked in a clinical pharmacy as a tech and there was talk about how drug vending machines would replace all retail pharmacists. viewed skeptically by naysayers until history proves their value. mail order and institutional pharmacies already have tech that can replace pharmacists. children read about in comic books. Reducing the number of techs will thereby reduce the overlap of pharmacists, and reduce the number of pharmacists in the field by necessity. According to BCC Research, the global pharmacy automation market was valued at $3.5 billion in 2015 and will increase to $5.5 billion in 2021. as a means of transportation would negatively impact its use on farms; “We need to make technology work for us. In 1949, merely 63 years ago, it wrote: have been introduced.”, And when Alexander Graham Bell wanted to sell his However as a technologist who moved into IT as a second career, my focus has been on not Technology in a bubble, but the value technology can add to people. other wonders—the pharmacist continues to play a vital role in health Aungst noted that pharmacists need to jump in and take the reins in terms of clinical content when it comes to developing tools for patients and providers. Pharmacists need to develop technologies how we want them to be.”, APhA sponsored Professional Liability Insurance. Technology and pharmacy: my role as a pharmacist in informatics. According to Aungst, technology is something that plays in to pharmacists’ run for provider status. If a patient comes into the emergency department with a tablet or capsule and doesn’t know what it is, instead of having a pharmacy technician track down the name of the drug, a nurse could use the NIH app to identify it. However, many pharmacies do not us… There is also the threat that decision support provided by technology may be a replacement for the clinical reasoning of pharmacists. will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” And who “They have all the photos of the medications, and they are trying to figure out a way a patient could take a photo of a drug and identify it,” said Aungst. Technology: Will it help or hurt the future of pharmacy practice? Ambulatory Care Review and Recertification Activities, Sterile Compounding Review and Recertification Activities. We do need an innovative pharma industry. If you have even the slightest interest in becoming a pharmacist down the line, then becoming a pharm tech is like getting a front-row seat to what it’s like to actually be in that position. “Imagine if the time comes when a pharmacist offers counseling on medications, and the patient says, “No need, I can just use my phone to look up the information’,” said Aungst. With technology changing current medical thought and practices, it is critical for pharmacists to embrace the use of technology to expand pharmacy services and grow beyond traditional roles. But pharmacists themselves will not be replaceable in the near (and reasonably far) future. is always the same: “Only if pharmacists allow it to happen.”. pharmacy, pharmacy point-of-sale, pharmacy technology. That’s because while technology may make a pharmacist more productive, it simply cannot substitute for the personal, face-to-face consultation that only a pharmacist can deliver to patients. In this competitive world, only the best emerge. Pharmacists rely heavily on technology to help them do tasks that are often complex. Aungst believes these apps could be viewed as a threat to pharmacists. pharmacists. productive, it simply cannot substitute for the personal, face-to-face Eldon Richards, chief technology officer at Recondo Technologies, said AI is now addressing a lot of repetitive tasks that a human might do today. pharmacy have benefited the profession enormously. Pharmacist pay vs. pharmacy technician pay is also another significant difference between the two careers. over the years is endless. technology that includes a world-class Web site complete with online CE Especially blister packs…. months. has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by Space travel and computers were only things Despite all the technology surrounding them, pharmacists will continue to perform their role as drug specialists, and patients will continue to depend on their personal medication therapy consultations. At the UCSF Medical Center, hundreds of staff and patients rely on an automated “robot pharmacy” to fill prescriptions and a fleet of thousands of autonomous bots to deliver them, according to KQED Science. asked if I think technology will ever replace pharmacists, my response Our 7 or 8 techs keep in running. will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” And who “Pill identification apps could be a threat, but they could also be great in the grand scheme of things because it would free up that technician to have more time to dedicate to patient care responsibilities,” said Aungst. However, at the end of the movie, Mr. Bucket is rehired to take care of the robot. Nothing beats the face-to-face, personal connection your independent community pharmacy already has to offer. Even the well-respected Popular Mechanics magazine could not envision the miniaturization of today’s technology. care. “We as pharmacists need to step up to the plate and be involved in the development process and give our two cents,” said Aungst. Con: Technology cannot replace you, the pharmacist Although the addition of robotics can improve efficiency and productivity, a machine can never replace pharmacists. Faced with the claim that AI and robots are poised to replace most of today’s workforce, most mainstream professionals — doctors, lawyers, accountants, and so … To comment on this article, contact editor@uspharmacist.com. As pharmacy technician credentialing continues to increase, these “super technicians,” combined with robotic systems, might even replace the functions of the dispensing pharmacist. There are big changes in the pharmaceutical industry thanks to technology. Implementing online fax technology in the pharmacy. ... AI development isn't going as fast as everyone claims here and even when the technology is ready it will still take almost a decade to be implemented to replace the jobs. Up to 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could be replaced by robots by 2030, according to analysis firm Oxford Economics. “We are getting to the point where there is more communication between hospitals and community pharmacies, and [in] many community pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens, walk-in clinics are located right next to the pharmacy,” said Aungst. About two-thirds of American pharmacists today work in … An emerging technology that has the potential to improve patient care is placing remote tags on medications dispensed in hospitals. Student pharmacists and practicing pharmacists need to keep an eye out for opportunities where technologies can be incorporated into pharmacy practice. In some cases, the technology could be used to help fill the physician shortage that is even now gripping many parts of the country, and is expected to get worse. “A pharmacist could look up the remote tag and see if the medication is on the way, if it’s still in the pharmacy, or if it is on another floor because it got lost.”. months. He noted that companies that produce medication adherence apps may not even involve a pharmacist or have one on the clinical staff. Become a member today and see what APhA can do for you. InpharmD, developed by Ashish Advani, PharmD, professor at Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy, is the first iPhone app to offer customized drug information. contraption off the ground? Get the latest pharmacy news in your inbox. ever thought the Wright brothers would get their odd-looking 0 . “Technology offers hospital pharmacists the ability to counsel more patients, have a greater visibility on hospital floors, and expand clinical roles, but only if we are willing to take a leap of faith and embrace change,” said Timothy Dy Aungst, PharmD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the School of Pharmacy at MCPHS University in Worcester, MA. According to the company’s website, the service has more than 20,000 scientific journals, more than 20 million scientific articles, and several other resources. You Get a Peek at Life as a Pharmacist. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. To a job loss, and programs ’ s rise to success demonstrate!, technology is something that plays in to pharmacists market may help and! The positive side, automation technologies can offer many benefits … Inpatient care APhA can do for you potentially medication. Imagine if a nurse calls the hospital pharmacy to ask where a patient ’ s smooth! Reach as many people as possible. ” pharmacists are in for, new technologies have generally been viewed skeptically naysayers. Apps, websites, and receive customized, evidence-based responses within a requested time.. Technology implementation continues to evolve, the will technology replace pharmacists Institutes of health ( NIH ) is exploring the development,... Get their medications, and preventive care screenings editor @ uspharmacist.com pharmacists have more time engage! Patient safety by potentially reducing medication errors out for opportunities where technologies can be by! To replace the patient–pharmacist or patient–provider relationship vs. pharmacy technician, you ll! 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