A Glimpse into the Future of Pharmacy
Pharmacists, researchers, and other health care professionals must keep pushing these boundaries to continue advancing the field of medicine and providing effective patient care.
With pharmacy being an ever-growing and evolving profession, health care providers must take a step back and look ahead. In the past century alone, the pharmacy profession has grown drastically by pushing the boundaries. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, researchers, and other health care professionals must keep pushing these boundaries to continue advancing the field of medicine and providing effective patient care.
Drug pricing is a highly debated topic at every level of discussion. From patient and provider discussion to debates at the political level, drug prices will always be discussed. Drug pricing policies and acts must be highly considered to achieve a balance between patient access and funding for research/innovation while negating unintentional consequences and monopoly formation of the market.
The use of technology can be greatly beneficial to all, including both patients and providers. The use of smart devices (smartphones, watches, etc) can alert patients to refills, recalls, and information regarding medications in an extremely convenient and timely manner.
Smartwatches, in particular, use bioelectrical signals that can provide continuous health monitoring, which can notify the patient, emergency medical services, and health care providers immediately. Smartwatch devices have recently gained traction and attracted the attention of app developers in patients are affected by epilepsy.
Certain smartwatch devices use an integrated bioelectric scanner and accelerometer in the device to alert a care giver and record when a seizure is occurring. 1
The FDA has also recently approved using technology to deliver treatment for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using a prescription-only video game (The EndeavorRx Device) alongside traditional ADHD treatment. This is a primary example of delivering digital therapeutics through the growing use of technology in medicine.2
The World Health Organization also recognizes the potential of technology integration in patient services by stating that smart devices have a broad reach and acceptance by the public. The widespread availability of these smart devices is a call to app developers, IT personnel, and technology companies to traverse this uncharted territory to develop health care delivery systems that flawlessly integrate with the patient care process.
Technology and software systems can also integrate with the administrative side of pharmacy as well. Software that benefit pharmacies in ways such as automating tedious processes and streamlining the chain of distribution of medications, which both can greatly benefit the pharmacy and patients.
Personalized medicine is a unique field revolving around the world of pharmacy. It provides an opportunity for pharmacists to apply their knowledge of medicine to deliver treatment that is tailored to the specifics of each patient.
Advancements in pharmacogenomics can be applied to the patient care model, which can focus on specific individualizing treatment based on specific patient factors. Understanding the use of patient genetic testing and factors may provide health care providers with critical information that can deliver targeted and effective therapy for a specific disease state.
In a survey assessing community pharmacists knowledge and confidence regarding pharmacogenomics, a large percentage responded that they were not confident in their knowledge and recommendations regarding the human genome.3 Since the conclusion of this survey, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) has added a genomics element to pharmaceutics didactic programs so that new graduates will be practice ready.4
With pharmacy and pharmacogenomics being a dynamic and ever-expanding field, perhaps in the future there will be a large call for pharmacists specializing in extensive knowledge of pharmacogenomics. Continuing education programs can also help introduce/reinforce findings in pharmacogenomics, advancements of pharmacogenomics, and places in practice to apply a pharmacist’s knowledge of pharmacogenomics to direct patient centered care.
About the AuthorsNick Longhi is a PharmD Candidate at Marshall University’s School of Pharmacy, anticipated to graduate in spring 2021.
Jonathan Ogurchak, PharmD, CSP, is the founder and CEO of STACK, a pharmacy compliance management software, and serves as preceptor for a virtual Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiential Rotation for specialty pharmacy, during which this article was composed.
1. Rampogal, S., Thome-Souza, S., Jackson, M., et al. Seizure detection, seizure prediction, and closed-loop warning systems in epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior. Volume 37. August 2014. (2014). Ppg 291-307
2. The Food and Drug Administration. (2020, June 15). FDA Permits Marketing of First Game-Based Digital Therapeutic to Improve Attention Function in Children with ADHD. [Press Release]. Retrieved Fromhttps://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-permits-marketing-first-game-based-digital-therapeutic-improve-attention-function-children-adhd
3. Sansgiry SS, Kulkarni AS. The Human Genome Project: Assessing confidence in knowledge and training requirements for community pharmacists. Am J Pharm Educ. 2003;67(2):39.
4. Accreditation Standards and Key Elements for the Professional Program in Pharmacy Leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Standards. 2016. [Accessed March 29, 2018]. Available from: https://www.acpe-accredit.org/pdf/Standards2016FINAL.pdf.