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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 implementing computerized provider order entry.

  • Describe the components of an e-prescribing system.

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

  • Describe limitations of health information technology that is used during the transcription 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 United States (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.

  • Define 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 impacted 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.

  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. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Meaningful Use program to incentivize the use of certified EHR technology. The Meaningful Use program focuses on (1) improving quality, safety, and efficiency, (2) engaging patients and their families, (3) improving care coordination, as well as public and population health, and (4) maintaining privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). In general, Meaningful Use criteria address the use of specific components of EHRs (like prescribing systems) to achieve specific outcomes, which can be process oriented or patient oriented.


Pharmacists of today have a multitude of responsibilities within their scope of practice. Whether verifying and filling prescriptions, compounding medications, advising patients on proper medication use, or collaborating with other practitioners in the care of patients, at the forefront ...

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