Did You Think Pharmacy Informatics Was One Job? There Are Many!

Matt patter a knee here with the non-traditional pharmacist part of the pharmacy podcast network really excited about our episode today topic everyone's talking about technology informatics we're gonna talk analytics we're gonna talk a I we're going to talk Big Data really when you look at the field of technology in healthcare space in particular the number of jobs in the field is growing actually twice as fast as overall employment really due to a shortage of qualified employees available but today we have no shortage of qualified individuals available we have the wonderful the one-and-only Lukasz and Lukasz you have a name kind of like share you know you just have to say wuhush and everyone knows who we're talking about so excited to have Lukasz on the program today he is the clinical pharmacy manager of data analytics at New York Presbyterian Hospital so we'll talk technology health system informatics and of course get into how these things are changing and redefining the pharmacy landscape so will Kosh welcome and thank you for joining thanks Matt very happy to be here excellent to have you on we'll start with the first question we asked all of our guests which is give us some insight into your background in pharmacy kind of your history and what led you to your role in informatics today sure so my background isn't really anything unique I did pharmacy school I did residency pgy 1pg white to specialization in informatics so it's nothing that you know I you created some type of crazy new technology and I got a position it's it's a very very you know standardized process now in pharmacy for for most specializations so in my background comes in when it comes to informatics is I had interest in high school in programming and I actually never even thought of informatics as a career choice I actually want to do industry for a long time it was only until I started looking at at B's where I was I got more exposure to the topic of informatics and I started asking questions of picking and prodding and asking around for more work there happies that I really learned to fall in love with informaton some things just kind of snowball from there excellent so you got into informatics kind of by chance it sounds like walk us through what pharmacy informatics is in general kind of give us an overview of what the field is like so informatics is is a very interesting field because it's still very young and still very developing there's not a lot of very concrete definitions out there but if you ask what someone is informatics pharmacists you're gonna probably give you a response along the lines of that they work on building or modifying an electronic health record system like epic Cerner metatag all scripts etc and so what they do is they really try and bring these tutions culture and personality into non electronic health record system so and again the definition is very variable because as my pgy – i've worked with from acts pharmacists from all walks of life so anything myself I'm technically a non-traditional informatics pharmacists and that I'm in data analytics ok so we have a non-traditional role within a non-traditional role now how do you see other areas of informatics stemming from this you're in data analytics what other areas are there so I've sewed informatics and again it kind of there's kind of overlap enclose the pharmacy because technically if you work on utilizing native information or technology to improve how the health system works in the technology perspective you kind of can call yourself a little bit of informatics pharmacist so a good example is my medication safety rotation at my pgy – technically the medication Safety Officer worked on creating clinical decision support and alerts and I was tronic health records system and therefore by kind definition you know he was an informatics pharmacist that way I work with informatics pharmacist in academia I worked with informatics pharmacist or I know if machs pharmacist in in healthcare in terms of the government such as the FDA and NIH so they're all over the place okay so pharmacy informatics really can touch on each of the other areas in pharmacy we talked about Health System governmental regulatory agencies industry to know Dow but what about your role specifically you're the clinical pharmacy manager of data analytics in a large Health System walk us through that role kind of your day-to-day and and what you do for that health system yeah so so Matt it's funny a lot of people that even work with ask me that role because it's such a broad broad definition so I really work on seeing where the gaps are and trying to build a data environment where as a department we're trying to utilize the data we have in unique and innovative ways to serve our patients so I work on everything from again operational to looking at medication use evaluations and working on different type of projects when it comes to financial I even do some 340b a lot of auditing of the standards of practice both pharmacists and physicians even nerf and nursing so I'd like to say that and informatics pharmacist is good if he doesn't have to do the same project twice so I try to live me that fair enough that that's probably a good rule for everyone to live by what about logistical II how does the hours of working in a Health System in informatics compare to other roles in the health system and how is this work in your you know kind of in your personal life – so as you mentioned informatics is such such a growing field and it has so much involvement I mean there's a hospital has no shortage of problems to solve so I am constantly trying to go out of my way to get involved and put myself out there when it comes to all these problems so I mean if if they if they could they would have me there for 24 hours a day seven days a week and I'd be very happy because I'd be solving problems which is one of them you know one of the things I love to do is to solve problems but it's it's it's very difficult to do not get involved especially if you have a informatics personality I'll call it where you see problems and you really want to help and try and figure them out so I love my work I define myself through my work and so I work everywhere any day from normal normal hours to 2:00 to 10:00 p.m. if needed depending on project and deadlines what are some of the really cool projects you're working on now if you can share with us just kind of overview at a high level what some of the things you're working on right now sure so we have we call FNT other hospitals called P and T their request for medications for specific indications for example I would take a look at the data and actually see if we have any type of benefit that's been shown through medication or medication has previously been been approved through FN key and decieve actually been giving the benefit claims and outcomes that we were looking for the medication that's an example when I look when I work on a clinical aspect when I look at look at things from a financial aspect I look at are we how's the farm to doing in terms of the initiatives that were that we have in in saving us money or revealing things correctly I'm even working on billing medical procedures atmosphere G's 340b for disproportionate share hospitals I'm trying to show that we're getting the appropriate amount of money that way when it comes to operations one of the big things I'm working on now is in terms of looking at it things from are we are we following our medications correctly are we able to be accountable for our medications throughout the entire medication distribution cycle such as automated dispensing cabinets to ensure we have no expired medications that the the units have the medications that they require and that the patients can be served on a program timely basis sounds like you're working on a lot of really cool things and spoken like a true data informatics professional when you have to say you you look at the data that's it we love to hear that how does this role that you're in right now help you achieve your personal and your professional goals so one of the best things about being an informatics and being at my level is that you get to work on problems that affect the whole institution so I looked at from the perspective I'm doing my clinician duties as to try and serve as many patients as possible through this role if I'm improving how and I see you can get its vasopressors to its patients that I'm going to be improving how those patient that walks into that ICU then it needs it gets taken care of so I I find a great deal satisfaction personally professionally through my work yeah like that it doesn't matter what role you're in necessarily every role is important and it's how can you be best effective in that role to best serve patients best you know advance the profession and all of that that's great I like that we already talked about it a little bit but what are some other roles in pharmacy and traumatic and we talked on some of them but where do you see yourself maybe most interested in kind of as you move through your career so yeah so like I mentioned informatics really you can spread far and wide I mean you can say like we talked about a little bit with medication safety you can even talk about drug information you're supplying the correct information to the people that need it which to a certain extent is kind of my goal as a date someone in data analytics is you know we have the data let's turn that into information and let's provide it to the people that need it so to certain extent you can you can say the DI is an informatics role but in terms of where I see myself I see myself to really try and focus on having hospitals work as a as ficient ly as possible so there's a lot of gaps when it comes to for example finances so that's that's an interesting development i I haven't had during pharmacy school no one ever talked to me about finances and then en 340b and how things are billed but I find that to be an interesting piece of healthcare because there's so much change going on when it comes to to billing and there's just so much I guess out there when it comes to looking at things and assessing if the medications are being but we're getting our money's worth for these four medications and if the pharmacy department is actually showing the benefit and the outcomes with these medications and in the future I'd love to get into more outcomes data analytics so I mean that's that's something that as the industry is yet to show to proof is outcomes and so that's something I really be interested in interesting do you think that's where the industry is headed or do you think that's where it should head what is your take and where we're going so the industry should everything should be going towards improved outcomes right you know at the end of the day we want to take care of our patients as best as we can with with the the materials and resources and time we have so ideally everything moves towards outcomes and that's again where I see a lot of pressure being put on the problem is that it's a very very difficult problem there's I mean many many multi-billion companies have tried to address the problem and it's it's been it's been it's been tough right so time can tell the time when we can tell so what kind of problems I'll get into you mentioned a lot of different aspects of pharmacy informatics really very wide reaching is there anyone that you could pinpoint any one area of informatics in the future that you think is gonna be kind of the dominant definition of pharmacy informatics so I think Farce informatics is still gonna be with living a little bit in the clinical decision support aspect of things when it comes to the traditional informatics pharmacist so the software that's being provided by the vendors like epic Cerner Oscars many tech excetera they're all starting to become very very good at all the different customization features themselves but these the clinical decision decision support so it's the alerting it's to the order set building it's the standardizing of treatment all those pieces where you can actually bring in your clinical and E and your operational knowledge together as a pharmacist and really learn to apply it so you're not necessarily programming the system as many people will have a false assumption of informatics that they need to learn how to program during a program the system it's more about building it in a certain way that an alert for example the physician will actually respond to and they won't receive a look fatigue through it because it fires too often and it actually be able is able to portray the most important information within having most important outcome and result because of that alert for example right we've already kind of taken in large part to care of step one customization electronic health record you know digital recording of information but now it's kind of taking it a step further and how can we use that information that we have and make actionable insights on top of that which is kind of where we are now and sounds like we're heading in the future what advice would you give to pharmacy students or other pharmacists that are looking to pursue a career in pharmacy informatics so as I mentioned with my story that as an Appy student I really that's where I really learned about informatics I literally just googled through a pH aise website what type of career options there are through pharmacy and it started scrolling through it because I want to adapt my happies towards whatever future goal I had so I found in from axing really really solidified my interest um well not be happy I actually good rotation solidify my interest this the definition the research I did generated the interest and so as an acting student I really really cannot stress enough go to all these different places during rotations experiencing everything they're doing and really putting yourself out there you know tell people what you're looking for in terms of like your career goal you know we're used to yourself you know asked it have more work on the side after your your responsibilities for that rotations are done you know try and talk and shadow people in informatics so really put yourself out there and that's that's honestly a very very that's what I did I got a lot of great experiences from it and even every little every little experience that you you get when it's you know may sound mundane bug expose you a little bit more you'll be a little bit more intelligent when they come and spend you know just keep building for a pharmacist I have great news mostly from attics pharmacists that are out there did not start with the residency and informatics at still actually very much not the traditional way of doing things I know plenty people that have done informatics right outside of pharmacy school and bright outside pgy one so if you're a hospital pharmacist really all you have to do is raise your hands volunteer show that you're interested and you're willing to work on you know difficult technology-based problems if you're not in hospital and you want to get into informatics highly recommend picking up a per diem probably diem shift and helping identify problems that you can work on during your time when you're working there and kind of bite the bullet and really understand you're not gonna be doing this for the extra pay it's gonna be just for the exposure a lot of good a lot of good advice there who cash I like how you know you stress the networking putting yourself out there we we stress that all the time so important and also do you hear that everyone started with a a very high tech way to learn about this new career field called Google and I and Google's great and girls fantastic great place to learn a lot of stuff your baseline information but Lukasz where would people go to learn more about informatics maybe some key resources that you could recommend to folks listening sure if you're part of a sh p they have a section for pharmacy informatics that's always a great place to meet people worried about things a hims HIMSS that's a great organization when it comes to technology and health care a Mia amia that's a great organization there's plenty of publications out there to kind of justify what we're doing is informatics pharmacist that that they have different white papers on the different type of clinical initiatives that were max pharmacists can take or a what roles they can play them in different teams and when they can out build again clinical decision support if you look that up you'll find a lot of informatics based publications and all different just different topics that you'll come across and especially as a pharmacist or student you know if you look at automated dispensing cabinets or coding on administration charge of administration charger and dispensed all these different terms you'll come to know and use on a daily basis you know you can look more into and into the publication's to just throw them into PubMed and see what pops up you know you'll get a lot of exposure that way you can surprise how much reading you do during the residency so I know they're out there well that's great Lukasz you have a very unique perspective on the field of pharmacy so we like to end and conclude our episodes with what do you think the future the pharmacy profession is in general so it's very difficult to predict where pharmacies going especially because we've been trying to solve the same problems and going after the same mission is like provider status for a long time so I'd love to see pharmacy continue to grow which again I feel like it's had a little bit of a struggle in terms of growing and adapting especially when it comes to a industry such as healthcare which is only now starting to get really influenced by technology and so I really hope pharmacy can keep up with it and and be on the winning side of technology but that's only going to be by such as you you know going out there and working with other pharmacists and and you know bringing the community together to to try and solve mutually mutually beneficial issues well thank you so much Lukasz today excellent excellent take on pharmacy informatics the field of pharmacy in general the one and only wuhush thanks for everyone for tuning in today please connect with Lukasz via the contact information provided below and on the pharmacy Network and be sure to subscribe to both the non traditional pharmacists and the wonderful pharmacy podcast network until next time this is Matt patterning with the non-traditional pharmacist

One Comment

  1. Terrance Forrest Jr said:

    I'm considering pursuing a Pharmacy Technician program and considering taking different certifications, would this be good direction to go if I'm pursuing a career in informatics?

    June 26, 2019

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