Digital Health

ASHP Commission Examines Data-Driven Healthcare – ASHP

The management of digital health technology for better patient care was on the agenda at the March 7 meeting of ASHP’s Commission on Goals, whose members offered strategic guidance on optimizing medication use through advanced analytics and data-driven healthcare.

The interdisciplinary commission meets annually to provide critical guidance for the ASHP Board of Directors and to help shape ASHP’s strategic direction.

This year’s commission roster included leaders in pharmacy, medicine, nursing, digital health technology, public health, industry, and government.

The group was asked to provide guidance on four main topics:

  • Establishing organizational priorities on data collection and use
  • The interface of digital health, data science, and medication use
  • Organizational structures and workforce preparation to leverage data for comprehensive medication management
  • Optimization and protection of medication-use data

Commission members described having access to prescribing and dispensing information as well as data from electronic medical records, automated dispensing cabinets, infusion pumps, robotics, wearable devices, and many other sources.

During the session on data prioritization, meeting participants discussed the need to establish policies and processes to ensure data security and protect patient privacy; uncertainty about the clinical and financial value of investments in technology; usability of data by clinicians; how to leverage data to improve health equity; and how to effectively allocate staff resources to manage data prioritization and use.

Some organizations are meeting these concerns, in part, by establishing health data governance and stewardship groups to ensure that data-use decisions align with the institution’s mission and values, according to meeting participants.

The session on the interface of digital health, data science, and medication use focused largely on the benefits and limits of artificial intelligence (AI) models in healthcare. Participants sought clarity on how to evaluate AI models, when to trust or question their recommendations, and how to work collaboratively on care teams to promote AI models that improve the efficiency and quality of care.

During the session on workforce preparation, commission members agreed on the need to ensure competence in informatics in a healthcare environment that’s short on specialists in the field. The group emphasized the need for lifelong learning in technology and data science and suggested collaborating with medicine and nursing colleagues to establish shared competencies in informatics that reinforce team-based care.

The session on protecting medication-use data featured remarks from attendees who described the aftermath of ransomware attacks. Participants said the events underscored the need to train all staff on preventing illicit access to data systems. Commission members also discussed privacy challenges related to data security and the need to establish pharmacy’s place in cybersecurity initiatives.

During the final round of discussions, commission members shared their views on data trends and opportunities that may affect the medication use and pharmacy practice in the next 3–5 years. Participants predicted an increase in reliance on pharmacogenomics, social determinants of health, and AI to inform decision-making and push towards virtual care. Group members also speculated that advances in AI and robotics could help alleviate the effects of workforce shortages, freeing clinicians to focus on direct patient care activities.

“This meeting is very timely,” said commission chair and ASHP Past President Thomas J. Johnson during a break in the sessions. “I know from my own experience, and from talking with colleagues across the country, that the use and management of data is a top priority but also a significant challenge for many health systems. Our discussions today will help ASHP develop priorities to support our members and the healthcare system as we optimize the use of data to improve medication management for our patients.”

Proceedings of the commission’s meeting will be published in AJHP.

Commission Members

Thomas JohnsonChairNorth Dakota
Linda TylerVice ChairUtah
Paul AbramowitzMaryland
Amanda BrummelMinnesota
Rich CaruanaWashington
Kathy ChappellMaryland
Micah CostTennessee
Christopher HatwigTexas
Todd HendersonKansas
John KomendaWisconsin
Tom LearyVirginia
Patsy McNeilMaryland
Stephen MullenixColorado
Parth PatelMassachusetts
Ken PerezCalifornia
Chris RochonNew Hampshire
Scott RochowiakMinnesota
Shannon SimsIllinois
Lisa StumpConnecticut
Sara Van DriestTennessee
Kasey ThompsonSecretaryMaryland

  • Establishing organizational priorities on data collection and use
  • Source:

    Donovan Larsen

    Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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