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Boldly Navigating Pharmacy Services into the New Digital Frontier

Madeline Camejo | Pharmacy Services
Madeline Camejo

A Chief Pharmacy Officer’s Log

As a kid, I always enjoyed watching Star Trek, and all the missions that Captain Kirk and his crew would navigate as they traveled into the final frontier of space aboard the USS Enterprise.  As we look to the future, Chief Pharmacy Officers (CPO) must have a strategic vision, adaptability, and a commitment to leveraging technology to enhance patient care, improve operational efficiency, and drive innovation. At the forefront of this transformation lies the digital frontier, where innovative technology solutions are revolutionizing the way pharmacy services are delivered.

As CPO in charge of our Clinical Pharmacy Enterprise, my mission is to lead our pharmacy services into the new digital frontier, much like Captain Kirk navigates through the stars. Here, I outline the pharmacy’s mission and strategy for navigating this brave new world.

Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott represents our IT department and the clinical informatics crew with whom we will need to partner when analyzing the current landscape of pharmacy services and identifying areas where digitalization can revolutionize our operations. We recognize the importance of embracing technology while ensuring that the human element remains at the heart of our practice. Just as Captain Kirk values the contributions of his diverse crew, we value the expertise of the informatics team in integrating advanced digital platforms into our pharmacy workflow. Much like the ship’s computer system assists in navigation and decision-making, digital platforms of the future will streamline medication dispensing, inventory management, and clinical decision-making. Automated dispensing systems will ensure accuracy and efficiency, allowing our pharmacists to focus on clinical care rather than manual tasks.

Next, we will implement telepharmacy services to reach patients in remote areas or during times when physical access to the pharmacy is limited. Just as the Starship Enterprise communicates with distant planets through subspace channels, telepharmacy will enable us to provide medication counseling and patient support independent of location. No matter where they live, patients will receive personalized care from our pharmacists, enhancing medication adherence and health outcomes.

Captain Kirk often relies on the ship’s advanced sensors and diagnostic tools to assess unknown environments. Similarly, we must leverage digital health technologies such as wearables and mobile apps to monitor patient health and medication adherence. These digital platforms can facilitate remote monitoring of medication adherence and health outcomes. Through connected devices and sensors, pharmacists can track medication intake, vital signs, and other relevant clinical metrics, allowing for early intervention when issues arise. This proactive approach to patient care will prevent medication errors, reduce hospital readmissions, and improve overall health outcomes by empowering our pharmacists to prevent adverse events even before they start.

Furthermore, we will need our own First Officer Spock (AI developers) to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze vast amounts of patient data and identify trends and patterns. Just as the ship’s computer predicts potential threats based on sensor data, these AI developers will use algorithms to help us anticipate medication-related issues and tailor interventions to individual patient needs. This predictive analytics capability will revolutionize our approach to medication management, ensuring safe and effective therapy for all patients.

As we venture into the digital frontier, security and privacy are paramount concerns. Much like Captain Kirk safeguards sensitive information from hostile forces, we will implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect patient data and pharmacy systems. Encryption protocols, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits will serve as our shield against cyber threats, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of patient information.

Additionally, we recognize the importance of interoperability and data exchange in optimizing patient care.  Just as Enterprise communicates with other starships and space stations using standard protocols, our pharmacy systems will seamlessly integrate with electronic health records and other healthcare technologies. This interoperability will facilitate information sharing and care coordination, enabling a comprehensive approach to patient management.

To ensure the successful adoption of digital innovations, we must prioritize staff training and education. Just as Captain Kirk ensures that his crew is proficient in the operation of new technologies, we will provide ongoing training and support to our pharmacists and staff. By empowering our team with the knowledge and skills to leverage digital tools effectively, we can maximize the benefits of technology while minimizing disruption to workflow.

Finally, we will foster collaboration and partnership by seeking feedback from patients, healthcare providers, and community organizations to continuously improve our pharmacy services. By soliciting input from these key stakeholders and incorporating it into our digital initiatives, we will ensure that our efforts align with the needs and expectations of those we serve.

In conclusion, CPOs should position their organizations for success in the digital era of pharmacy practice by embracing innovation.  Much like Captain Kirk explores the cosmos with courage and curiosity, we must embrace digital technologies to enhance patient care and advance the practice of pharmacy. By integrating advanced platforms, leveraging telepharmacy and digital health tools, harnessing AI and predictive analytics, prioritizing security and interoperability, investing in staff training, and engaging with key stakeholders, we will chart a course toward a brighter future for pharmacy services ultimately benefiting our patients.

With our crew beside us and the CPO at the helm, we must embrace the digital frontier and be willing to boldly go where no pharmacy department has gone before.

About the Author

Madeline Camejo, Pharm.D., MS joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2018 as the new Corporate Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer. Dr. Camejo is responsible for strategizing, developing, and executing pharmacy initiatives that support and grow pharmacy clinical services and operations system-wide.

A seasoned pharmacy executive with over 25 years of a unique blend of experiences in clinical pharmacy, clinical and business administration, healthcare finances, informatics and information technology. A strategic and operational visionary leader with excellent teambuilding, analytical, organization and interpersonal skills. Acquired substantial domain-specific knowledge and experience in all areas of clinical pharmacy operations including provider and payer segment of the healthcare industry. Proficient in creating and sustaining a culture that delivers high reliability pharmacy services that optimize quality, financial and safety measurable results.

In recognition of her work and contribution to the industry, Dr. Camejo has earned several notable awards and recognitions throughout her career. Dr. Camejo has published numerous articles, co-authored a book, made several presentations on a range of industry trends and topics, and has made countless media appearances as a subject matter expert.

Dr. Camejo received her undergraduate degrees from the University of Central Florida and her pharmacy degree from Nova Southeastern University. In her free time, she enjoys photography, horseback riding, traveling the world and experiencing other cultures.

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