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Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to

  • List the activities that occur at each step of the medication use process.

  • Define pharmacy informatics and other core informatics terms.

  • Discuss the role of pharmacy informatics at each step of the medication use process.

  • Describe challenges with implementing computerized provider order entry (CPOE).

  • Describe the components of an e-prescribing system.

  • Describe the role of the three primary components of a clinical decision support system (CDSS).

  • Describe limitations of health information technology (HIT) that is used during the order verification step of the medication use process.

  • Compare and contrast the health information technology used during dispensing in acute care and community pharmacy settings.

  • Define the role of bar code medication administration.

  • Describe the role of the three primary components of a clinical surveillance system.

  • Describe the changing role of the patient in the U.S. health care system.

  • Explain the importance of interoperability to the future of the U.S. health care system, including the role of the U.S. government.

  • Describe the goal and structure of Meaningful Use.

  • Compare and contrast privacy, security, and confidentiality as they relate to protected health information.

Key Concepts

  • 1 The medication use process is a system of interconnected parts that work together to achieve the common goal of safe and effective medication therapy.

  • 2 All pharmacists are affected by the electronic information systems that make up pharmacy informatics in virtually every aspect of practice.

  • 3 The two broad categories of information used in pharmacy informatics, as well as other clinical informatics domains, are patient-specific information and knowledge-based information.

  • 4 The vision of health care is becoming more patient-centered.

  • 5 The current health care system is decentralized and fragmented. Because of this, significant communication gaps exist when multiple health care institutions provide care for the same patient. Substantial evidence suggests that more effective communication would improve patient care and reduce medical errors, such as adverse drug events (ADEs).

  • 6 The desired result of interoperable systems and electronic health records (EHRs) is to readily provide all health practitioners in all locations, including the pharmacy, with access to information about a patient's care, as needed.

  • 7 In order to increase adoption and Meaningful Use of EHRs by providers and hospitals, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed a monetary incentive program; the Meaningful Use program incentivizes hospitals and physicians to use EHRs to achieve specific outcomes, which may be process-oriented or patient-oriented. The goals of the Meaningful Use program are to (1) improve quality, safety, and efficiency, (2) engage patients and their families, (3) improve care coordination, as well as public and population health, and (4) maintain privacy and security of protected health information (PHI).


Health care practitioners of today have a multitude of responsibilities within their scope of practice. For pharmacists, whether verifying and filling prescriptions, compounding medications, ...

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