Pharmacy workforce to evolve

robot touching futuristic interface

Pharmacy will have to evolve as technologies are introduced and refined, says Kristin Michaels, CEO of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia.

Michaels was addressing the two day Future Summit, now being held in Melbourne.

Michaels says one of the most important issues being addressed is planning for an increasingly digitised healthcare system.

“We expect the role of the pharmacy workforce to evolve and this will accelerate with the introduction of electronic medication management systems and electronic medical records,” she says.

“These technological changes will have the attention of federal and state governments because of the potential impact on health budgets and because they will be keen to maximise advances in health outcomes.

“New electronic systems could pave the way for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to have more time for bedside consultations, with other health professionals, and to ensure the best decisions are made about patient medication.”

Michaels says that SHPA is planning ahead to ensure the pharmacy workforce can take full advantage of likely changes to a digital healthcare system. This means ensuring SHPA provides the best support and continuing professional development, she says,

“One stream of Summit activity has been focused on the development of a tool kit for writing business cases. It will be used by pharmacists to support creation of new pharmacy services by undertaking analysis and presenting well-structured business cases to support their proposals.

“When pharmacists working in hospitals are keen to foster new initiatives to deliver better medications management, they are competing for limited funds against robust competition. 

“Development of a well-considered, rigorous business case is an essential part of gaining appropriate funding in a competitive environment,” Michaels says.

“We are giving hospital pharmacists the tools and insights they need to design and follow through on medicines related initiatives that will elevate the quality and safety of health care in Australia’s hospitals.

“The Summit is also developing a mentoring program for pharmacists who are preparing for transition into more senior roles where they will require significant non-clinical skills.

“These skills could include leadership, management, communication, research and education,”  Michaels says.

“Participation in the Future Summit is very competitive and brings together pharmacy’s most important leaders and thought champions from around Australia. Participants are chosen via a rigorous selection process and they are working together to build robust foundations for future change.”

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