The Rise of AI in Pharmacy Practice Presents Benefits and Challenges

Publication
Article
Pharmacy TimesJuly 2023
Volume 89
Issue 7

Pharmacists must carefully consider safety concerns and patient privacy.

Artifical intelligence (AI) is impacting virtual every aspect of society in one form or another, including through the transformation of the health care industry and all of its sectors. Pharmacy practice is no exception.

Doctor surgeon in medical apparel working with Futuristic Holographic Interface, showing medical Data in augmented reality from artificial intelligence AI | Image credit: TSViPhoto- stock.adobe.com

Doctor showing medical data from AI | Image credit: TSViPhoto- stock.adobe.com

Although many state pharmacy practice laws and regulations have not begun to contemplate AI and its effects, the technology has the potential to revolutionize medication management, improve patient outcomes, and streamline pharmacy operations. With the advent of AI, a new frontier of opportunities and risks presents itself. Regulators and stakeholders will need to be aware of and understand the implications of using this new phenomenon.

MEDICATION MANAGEMENT

One of the most significant ways in which AI could change pharmacy practice is through medication management. AI can assist pharmacists in managing their medication inventory, predict medication demand, and identify potential drug interactions and adverse reactions. This can help pharmacists make more informed decisions about prescribed medications and how to manage medication regimens.

AI can also help pharmacists monitor patients’ medication adherence. By analyzing patient data, including medication usage and refill history, AI is able to assist pharmacists in identifying patients who may be at risk of nonadherence. Pharmacists then can intervene before medication-related complications occur. Through its ability to continuously monitor patient adherence, AI has the potential to increase pharmacists’ involvement with their patients.

PERSONALIZED MEDICINE

AI also is able to help pharmacists provide personalized medicine to their patients. By analyzing patient data, including medical history, allergies, and medication usage, AI can help pharmacists identify potential drug-drug interactions, adverse reactions, and other risks. This can help pharmacists make more informed decisions about prescribed medications.

AI can help pharmacists identify patients who may benefit from personalized medicine. By analyzing specific patient data, including genetic information, AI can assist pharmacists in identifying patients who may be more likely to respond to certain medications or who may be at higher risk of medication-related complications.

PATIENT OUTCOMES

AI can also help pharmacists monitor patients’ health outcomes by analyzing patient data, including medical history and medication usage. Pharmacists then can identify patients who may be at risk of complications and intervene before serious health problems occur.

STREAMLINED OPERATIONS

AI also has the power to streamline pharmacy operations. Through automation of tasks such as medication dispensing and inventory management, AI can help pharmacists save time, reduce errors, operate more efficiently, and provide better service to their patients.

AI can help pharmacists manage their workload. By analyzing medication usage and refill history, AI can help pharmacists prioritize their workload and focus on patients who may have more immediate needs that must be addressed, allowing for more timely interventions.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

As AI becomes more prevalent in pharmacy practice, it is important to consider the legal implications of its use. There are several key laws and regulations governing pharmacy practice, and AI usage must comply with these laws to ensure patient safety and privacy.

1. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Pharmacies that utilize AI systems to collect, store, or transmit patient health information must comply with federal HIPAA regulations by ensuring that their systems are secure and that patient information is protected from unauthorized access. Patient consent also may be required before using AI to collect or analyze health information, depending on the circumstances.

2. State Pharmacy Practice Laws

Pharmacies should check with their state board of pharmacy to ensure that their use of AI complies with all applicable state laws. Although state regulators may ultimately hold the pharmacist and pharmacy responsible for any errors or omissions, AI may be perceived as novel in many states, necessitating communication with a state board of pharmacy.

3. Liability

Pharmacies that use AI to manage medication inventory or provide medication management services may be liable for any errors or omissions that occur as a result of their use of AI. Pharmacies must ensure that their AI systems are accurate and reliable, and that they are used in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Pharmacies should also ensure that their pharmacists are trained in the use of AI and that they understand how to comply with all applicable laws and regulations and to identify and correct errors that may occur as a result of AI use. In addition, pharmacies should consult with legal counsel to ensure that their use of AI complies with all applicable state laws and regulations.

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