Transition From Analog to Digital Has Allowed Pharmacists to Explore New Opportunities


Craig Sastic, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, discussed how he has seen the pharmacy field change throughout his career.

In an interview with Pharmacy Times as part of American Pharmacists Month, Craig Sastic, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, a pharmacist with Inspira Health Network, discussed how he has seen the pharmacy field change throughout his career and how he is celebrating this exciting month.

Q: Can you introduce yourself?

Craig Sastic, PharmD, MBA, BCPS: My name is Craig Sastic. I am the infectious disease pharmacist for Inspira Health. I began my pharmacy journey by attending the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and I’ve been practicing here at Inspira now for 13 years.

Q: How did you get into pharmacy?

Craig Sastic, PharmD, MBA, BCPS: So, I took a little bit of a winding road. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in science and was planning to pursue medical school, and I actually didn't get into any medical schools. So, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do. I had always felt drawn to medicine because my father is a family physician, so I grew up around it and really felt like it was the place for me. But without getting into med school, I didn't know which direction to go in. So, during a phone conversation we were having, he decided to just throw out the idea, “Hey, have you considered going into pharmacy school?” And I said, “No, I haven't even thought about it.” So, I looked into it a little bit and I enjoyed it. It looked good to me. So, then I applied and got in and now I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Q: How have you seen the profession change over your career?

Craig Sastic, PharmD, MBA, BCPS: Yeah, so in 13 years, we've seen the transition from all of my orders in the hospital being on paper, and trying to have to dispense everything, trying to decipher handwriting, things along those lines. I look back on now and it's hard to imagine what we used to spend our time doing. So, now that handwriting deciphering is no longer an issue for us, we're able to utilize the physician order entry and really just repurpose our staff in order to do more clinical activities. A position like me, where I'm reviewing all of the patients, looking for optimizing of antibiotics, that's something that 15 years ago was not really possible. It would have been a luxury that a few institutions had, and now it's something that all institutions, all hospitals, are required to have. So, it's an amazing transition that we have seen from the primary dispensing role to really providing optimal medication therapy for our patients.

Q: What is the value of the pharmacist to you and to the health system more broadly?

Craig Sastic, PharmD, MBA, BCPS: Pharmacist are an integral part of the health care team. It is very encouraging for me to know that when I have a loved one who is in hospital or receiving medication care in the outpatient world, that there's a pharmacist there that is overseeing all the medication therapy. It's very complex and we know that physicians, nurses, PAs, they all have a lot of knowledge, a lot of expertise and a lot of areas that they are focused on. And to have some someone fully dedicated to just overseeing the medication therapy to ensure it's optimal is very comforting, because these medications are often the difference between life and death. So, it's just having that extra set of eyes, that extra expertise that's reviewing each one of these cases. It really is reassuring to me knowing that my loved ones are cared for in such a manner.

Q: How are you celebrating this American Pharmacists Month?

Craig Sastic, PharmD, MBA, BCPS: So, at my institution, we always have a big celebration week. My leadership here always provides a nice pharmacy gift for us, for all of our employees. We also reciprocate and do the same for some of our other staff, and we also have a lot of a lot of meals, and we eat very well during this time period. So, it's always a special time of the year for us to celebrate pharmacy week [and] American Pharmacists Month. And it's nice to be recognized in our institution, in our area, for the quality medical care that we're able to provide.

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