New career paths

robot technology workforce automation

Richard Taggart takes a look at electronic medication management

Medication is the most common intervention made by healthcare professionals. The safe selection, administration and use of medicines has a significant impact on patient treatment, outcomes and their experience.

As all pharmacists will know, the process involved in this management is complex and fraught with risk. Electronic Medication Management (EMM) helps to automate steps in that process, assisting both clinicians and patients. Of all the digital health initiatives implemented to-date, I believe EMM has had the biggest impact on quality and safety. 

That said, we have a way to go, and I am interested in a few emerging trends in the EMM space.

We’re beginning to reach maturity in the use of currently prevalent EMM systems, which presents both new opportunities and challenges. The more exciting of these are applied robotics and artificial intelligence, but I think equally as exciting is the growth of consumer-facing EMM technologies.  

Currently, I am the Chief Information Officer of Sydney Local Health District (LHD), which has almost 12,500 staff and is responsible for providing care to more than 670,000 local residents and over a million people who come to the city every day. 

We have five hospitals including two large principal referral hospitals, Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) and Concord. We also offer comprehensive community-based health services including child and family health, community nursing, mental health and Aboriginal health.

My role is to lead the digital health team through our comprehensive program of technology-enabled transformation. 

EMM is truly a multi-disciplinary sport. It involves medical, nursing, pharmacy and increasingly allied health professionals. It is also an important domain for administrators and health executives.

It is in this spirit I am looking forward to speaking at SHPA’s 2019 EMM Conference in June, reflecting on my own journey and the lessons learned, which I hope will help others. I was fortunate to work at Apple when it was making its early steps into healthcare and I am now privileged to be a CIO and lead talented pharmacists working as application specialists and project managers. 

I also plan to share some insights from Sydney LHD’s 12-year history using Cerner’s eMeds system and touch on some of the new EMM technologies that are emerging. 

I believe there are a number of new career paths opening up for pharmacists in EMM; it will be great to gather and discuss today’s realities – and tomorrow’s opportunities – in this exciting field.

Early bird registration for SHPA’s 2019 EMM Conference closes Friday 3 May.

Richard Taggart, Chief Information Officer of Sydney Local Health District, is a keynote speaker for the 2019 EMM Conference, a new national event covering the fundamentals to the advanced of this crucial and rapidly evolving field, 22-23 June in Sydney.


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