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ASHP Foundation Forecast Provides Actionable Recommendations for Pharmacy Leaders

TOP - February 2016, Vol 9, No 1 - Practical Issues for Pharmacists
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New Orleans, LA–The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Foundation's Pharmacy Forecast, now in its fourth edition, serves to improve the effectiveness of leaders in hospital and health-system pharmacy practice. The Pharmacy Forecast 2016-2020, which predicts important developments likely to challenge pharmacy leaders within the next 5 years, was presented at the 50th ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition in New Orleans, LA.

"The ASHP Foundation was interested in coming up with a tool that would stimulate good strategic planning by pharmacy practice leaders, by pharmacy departments in hospitals and health systems," William A. Zellmer, BPharm, MPH, project director and editor of the Pharmacy Forecast 2016-2020, told The Oncology Pharmacist.

The report's advisory committee identifies external factors likely to have a major impact on pharmacy practice in the near future, and reports the results of a survey of trendwatchers in health-system pharmacy practice, focusing on developments in 8 domains that are expected to present challenges to the field. Predicted trends are analyzed, and strategic recommendations are presented based on these analyses.

"We don't just present you with various trends, we also give you some advice in terms of what to do about those trends in planning for your pharmacy department," said Mr Zellmer, President, Pharmacy Foresight Consulting, Bethesda, MD, who presented the report along with other members of the advisory committee.

The Forecast Survey

Eight domains are addressed in the Pharmacy Forecast: (1) healthcare delivery and financing, (2) population health management, (3) drug development and therapeutics, (4) pharmaceutical marketplace, (5) data and technology, (6) pharmacy workforce, (7) patient empowerment, and (8) ethics.

It is difficult for pharmacy departments to look beyond immediate operational challenges because of time and resource constraints, but it remains paramount that these departments consider trends outside of pharmacy's immediate purview, according to Mr Zellmer. The report was created so that planning effectiveness could be improved by evaluating these trends on a national scale.

"We encourage practice leaders and their department staff to study the report, to think about how some of the trends, predictions, and recommendations relate to what they're seeing in their geographic area," explained Mr Zellmer.

The Forecast Panel is nominated by leaders of 5 ASHP sections, and is composed of recognized experts in pharmacy practice with a balanced geographic distribution, and a "demonstrated ability to think analytically about the future of pharmacy practice in hospitals and health systems." This year, the panel was composed of 159 individuals.

Panelists were asked about the likelihood of a certain development taking place within the next 5 years, based on the geographic area in which they work. "We want their top-of-mind responses based on what they have observed happening in their area, rather than doing research or thinking about what the situation is nationwide," explained Mr Zellmer. "That's consistent with the methodology we use in this report."

Results of the panel survey are then turned over to authors solicited to lead chapters on each of the 8 domains, interpret the survey results, and provide recommendations for practice leaders.

The Actionable Recommendations

In total, the Pharmacy Forecast 2016-2020 covers 64 trends, and provides 42 strategic recommendations, based on a 5-year focus. The report includes an analysis of predictions based on scaled panelist responses ranging from "very likely" to "very unlikely."

An example of a survey item from the data and technology chapter of the report asks: "How likely is it that the following will occur, by the year 2020, in the geographic region where you work? At least 25% of hospitals will have interoperability between the electronic health record (EHR) and healthcare equipment (eg, infusion pumps and ventilators), so that the patient's real-time change in physiologic variables will result in an automatic change in medication infusion or ventilator settings."

One of the strategic recommendations provided in the chapter suggests that practice leaders should seek to identify, implement, and integrate real-time data from healthcare devices, and use this information to support the pharmacy department's operational and clinical priorities.

"The EHRs in our organizations are moving fast and furious," said Cynthia Williams, BPharm, FASHP, Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer, Riverside Health System, Norfolk, VA, and one of the authors of the report who presented the data and technology chapter at the meeting. "They're bringing a lot of value, but also a lot of challenges, and many of those are driven by some of the requirements around meaningful use. We need to be open to new technologies and really understand how that improves the pharmacy care that we're providing within our organizations."

Moving Forward

Edward Li, PharmD, MPH, BCOP, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of New England College of Pharmacy, Portland, ME, and associate editor of the report, stressed the importance of focusing on patients. "Yes, we're talking about expanding clinical services and scope of practice of pharmacists, but we also need to link that back to our reason for existing, which is to provide better patient outcomes," he said.

A report covering new territory is released each year, but the committee encourages practitioners to consult the 4 most recent reports to get an idea of general trends. All editions of the ASHP Foundation's Pharmacy Forecast are accessible, free-of-cost, at www.ashp


American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation. Pharmacy forecast 2016-2020. Published 2015. Accessed January 4, 2016

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