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SOPIT Chair Message March 2021

March 2021

Dear Colleagues, 

I hope this message finds you well and free from as much “Zoom fatigue” as possible. Just recently Stanford released an article identifying four causes for our newfound malady and some relatively simple fixes to try to release these tensions. This article really had me thinking about all the different ways in which the introduction of technology into our lives isn’t structured in the most productive manner.  I’d love to hear from your other areas of tech, both within and external to healthcare, that you think are in this category too. If I find any solutions, I’ll highlight them in my last chairs message and give you a little shout out.

Life is kind of hard these days

Ok everyone, before you go forward in this email clicking the links and reading all the fun articles, I want you to take a short timeout with me. Look, it has been STRESSFUL for over a year now, and we have been working hard for months on end to do everything we can to move ourselves out of this pandemic. I want to ask you to take two minutes, just two minutes, I promise you that you can find that time and relax and calm your mind before you proceed. Just follow these steps (from the NHS in Scotland!):

  • Place one hand on your chest and the other over your stomach. You want your stomach to move more than your chest as you breathe
  • Take a slow, regular breath in (through your nose if you can). Watch your hands as you breathe in. The hand on your stomach should move and your chest should not
  • Breathe out slowly through pursed lips
  • Repeat this 10 times

For more relaxation techniques pop over to the NHS site. I really like these and find them a great way to calm my mind when I feel like there is too much to do and I just can’t seem to get started.

And then there was a third…

From unprecedented partnerships between drug manufacturers to some of the most coordinated (and uncoordinated at times) efforts to bring vaccines to arms, we have really moved the needle on the vaccine campaign. Now, I won’t say that we are out of the woods yet but as of March 3, more than 78 million doses have been administered, reaching 15.6% of the total U.S. population, according to federal data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the recent approval of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine and with Merck assisting with production, we are on target to vaccinate a mass amount of our adult population by the end of spring. If you are interested in where your state falls in this mix, check out NPR for some good up-to-date information.

If like me, you are interested in where all this data is headed, there is a good debate on vaccine passports with some great pros and cons being discussed. Highlights include personal health information access and international privacy rules, equity concerns regarding vaccine availability within different ethnic and racial groups, age related restrictions as there are few to no vaccines available for many children, and technological considerations across systems worldwide.  It does appear that some form of this is likely within the near future, and I for one am interested to see just exactly how the interoperability between all the international systems is handled.

Anyone else here concerned about Skynet?

AI and related technologies are booming, and we are starting to see them appear everywhere, however they are not without issue or challenge. A recent article detailed issues from nine industry experts covering topics around what should and should not be automated with AI. Ethics, deployment, representation, and many other topics are covered in a what we must address in the next five years’ discussion. I really appreciated the insight of the article and think it provides a nice pause to my tendency to be overly excited about the latest and greatest developments in the field.

Remember this sound?

Yeah, we’ve come a long, long way… in some regards.  While several areas of the pharmacy enterprise and related systems have gone through drastic improvements, our inventory purchasing systems haven’t seen much TLC in years. The EDI interface is outdated and outmoded and I really appreciated the discussion and insight in this article speaking to the benefits of API-based integrations. What other systems and tools do you use daily that have this level of complexity in their communications? I’d love to receive a list from you; it would be great for the executive committee to consider as we continue to structure future work.

Name Drops

Don’t miss out on these awesome webinars heading your way! Both brought to you by the SAG on Professional Development:

  • Interoperability: Fundamentals, Standards, and Terminologies (CE)
    Activity Overview: This webinar will help pharmacy informaticists better understand the basics of interoperability and health information exchange. Interoperability standards will be explored and how they are used to coordinate data across the continuum of care. Participants will see the importance of interoperability to provide timely and seamless information to optimize the health of individuals and populations globally. Continuing education credit will be offered for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for this activity.
    Speakers: Scott Nelson Pharm.D., M.S., CPHIMS, FAMIA & Dallas Moore, R.Ph., M.S.

Sign ASHP’s Petition Calling for Inclusion of Pharmacists on the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force 

ASHP launched a petition to call on the White House to include pharmacy professionals in the Biden administration’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Please sign the petition, and share it on social media using #PharmacyFrontline.

Check your calendars!

Don’t miss out, there are a lot of upcoming deadlines, so peruse this list to keep yourself up to date:

  • Call for Award Nominations: Deadline = April 1 
    The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member from each section and forum whose volunteer activities have supported the mission of their section or forum and helped advance the profession. Learn more about past award recipients here.
  • Call for Applications: Section Advisory Groups: New Deadline = May 1
    Section Advisory Groups (SAGs) offer opportunities to participate with ASHP and colleagues who share the same interests. To learn more about this engagement opportunity and apply for participation, visit the ASHP Advisory Group and Committee Appointment Page. Please send any questions to
  • Call for Proposals for ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting 2021 Informatics Pearls and Gems – Upcoming New this year will be an Informatics Gems program, specifically dedicated to recent residency graduates. Current residents must have mentor support as before. Please watch your email and ASHP Connect for exact submission dates.

In closing, all of us in the executive committee appreciate everything you are doing for our patients and their care. Each of you are contributing, and without each and every one of you we would not be where we are today. Take a moment to celebrate yourself, and remember that you are worth the investment of your own time and care. Get some rest where you can and I will be looking for your communications as them come in.

With much respect,

Seth W. Hartman, Pharm.D., M.B.A.
Chair, Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology