Increasing workplace diversity, addressing health disparities, and overcoming disruptions from COVID-19 are considered top goals among pharmacy stakeholders.
Health-systems and their pharmacy enterprises are predicted to implement more artificial intelligence (AI), according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) 2023 ASHP/ASHP Foundation Pharmacy Forecast Report, released at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exhibition.
“The 2023 Pharmacy Forecast Report recommendations provide clear guidance for pharmacy leaders as they respond to the rapidly evolving healthcare environment,” said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, PharmD, ScD (Hon), FASHP, in a press release.
With complex algorithms, AI can improve care and care delivery by providing routine task support, allowing the pharmacist to focus on individualized tasks such as pharmacogenomic-guided medication use, telehealth, and hospital-at-home duties.
The report recommends that pharmacy leaders receive AI training and implement this knowledge into health-systems. Pharmacists would be responsible for establishing priorities, best practices, and long-term AI tool maintenance to staff and technicians, according to the report.
COVID-19 placed a heavy burden on many health care delivery systems and disrupted the entire supply chain. As part of the forecast’s 5-year prediction on field trends, it found that health-systems will respond with more serious regulations to address the widespread circulation of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
To combat limited access to care, pharmacy leaders can include data on the social determinants of health into their electronic health records at both the individual and community levels.
Pharmacy leaders should address patient inequalities and health disparities, which have largely affected minority groups, as well as training staff to use data correctly, according to the report. These initiatives can help usher in a health system with less health disparities.
“One of the striking features of the 2023 Forecast Report is its focus on some of the most difficult issues confronting the healthcare system at this time, including disparities, trust in health information, workforce concerns, and cyber security,” Abramowitz said in the press release.
Workplace diversity can improve access and of quality care, according to the report. The forecast further suggests strategies to improve the recruitment of diverse students, trainees, practitioners, and health care professionals.
However, AI could impact diversity initiatives, the report warns pharmacy leaders. They caution that AI may lose accuracy over time. For example, if algorithms do not function properly then they may not support best practices in a diverse workforce. This makes it essential to monitor performance.
Over the next 5 years, the 2023 Pharmacy Forecast predicts progress in addressing burnout in the wake of work-related stress, which includes designing spaces that encourage teamwork and support. The forecast also predicts an increase in specialized pharmacy systems and increasing cybersecurity measures to prevent cyberattacks.
“The focus on AI, pharmacogenomics, and telehealth will help ensure that pharmacy enterprises are planning for technological advances that will shape health care delivery over the next five years and beyond,” Abromowitz said in the press release.
The Pharmacy Forecast. Growth in Artificial Intelligence Offers Opportunity for Health-System Pharmacy. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Conference. December 5, 2022. Accessed on December 5, 2022.