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About the Authors: Brent I. Fox is an associate professor of Health Outcomes Research and Policy at the Harrison School of Pharmacy at Auburn University. He received his PharmD from Auburn and then worked in the software development industry prior to returning to Auburn, where he earned his PhD. Brent’s education, outreach, and research efforts focus on improving medication-related outcomes through health information technology.

Mark H. Siska is the Chief Pharmacy Informatics Officer at the Mayo Clinic. Mark is the past Chair of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Section of Informatics and Technology and has served or continues to serve on a number of health care information technology advisory committees and workgroups, most recently the Pharmacy Health Collaborative. He received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois, College of Pharmacy in 1980, completed his Hospital Pharmacy Resident training at Mayo Clinic Rochester in 1981, and completed his MBA in technology management in 2007.



After completing this chapter, readers should be able to

  1. Describe key drivers for technology and automation in pharmacy practice.

  2. List and describe the domains of the pharmacist’s role in health information technology.

  3. List the technologies involved at each step in the medication use process.

  4. Describe the goal of closed-loop medication management systems.

  5. List the elements of a request for proposal (RFP) as it relates to vendor selection for procuring health information technology resources.

  6. Describe four ways to manage change related to health information technology.

  7. Describe the types of backup options for pharmacy information management systems (PIMSs).

  8. List five questions to consider when planning a backup procedure for a PIMS.

  9. Describe the role of best practices for PIMSs.

  10. Describe the role and future implications of interoperability for pharmacy practice.


Charlie Chodavarapu completed his PharmD training several years ago and accepted a staff pharmacist position with a local community pharmacy. Charlie recently started spending some of his free time staffing in the local hospital pharmacy. Despite these experiences, Charlie is reminded of the distinct differences between his primary practice in the community and his periodic practice in the institutional setting. The most obvious difference is that his role in the hospital does not involve reconciling prescription claim issues. Charlie also misses directly interacting with patients in the community. Despite these differences, Charlie was most surprised by the similarities found between the two practice settings.

Unexpectedly, Charlie found similarities in the use of technology between the two practice settings. Charlie’s community practice is completely reliant on a number of technologies to perform administrative, clinical, and distributive functions. Through his work in the hospital, Charlie has had the opportunity to experience the daily workflow of a hospital pharmacist, ...

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