Credentials: BS Pharmacy, MHA
Position/Title: Pharmacist consultant, Bar Code Resource Office
Organization: Department of Veterans Affairs
Primary Specialty: Informatics
Specialties: Patient Safety
I received my B.S. in Pharmacy and my Masters in Health Administration.
Type of Patient Population Served
I serve members of the military after active duty. I also have some projects on bar code print quality that affect all health care systems.
Roles and Responsibilities
In my role I am the pharmacy expert on Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) issues for entire Veterans Health Administration (VHA). I evaluate bar code quality on reported problematic bar codes for entire and work with industry to create better bar codes that will scan in any BCMA system. I am responsible for evaluating bar code scanners, wristband printers and wristband media for use in VHA. I also serve as a liaison with national bar code standards groups. I developed a reporting mechanism to determine problematic bar codes, report them to various organizations and attempt to get suppliers to rectify the issue causing the problem. I work with individual VHA medical centers to correct ant bar code scanning problems.
How I Got Where I am Today
I am a self taught Informatics pharmacist. I designed forms on the computer for the Joint Commission in 1990 for VA, Washington, DC. I became the Pharmacy Automated Data Processing Coordinator (controlled drug file) at the VA, Washington DC. I was the Inpatient supervisor for several years. I was a member of the implementation team and workgroup designing Computerized Patient Record System for VHA in early 1990s. I became the implementation manager for BCMA in Washington, DC in 1999. I became the Pharmacist Consultant for VA Bar Code Resource Office in 2005. In other words, I learned all aspects of electronic medical record over many years to feel comfortable in pharmacy informatics, and medication safety management. I have given many presentations and written several articles on patient safety with the Electronic Medical Record and BCMA.
Advice for Students Pursuing this Career Path
To understand medication management safety and pharmacy informatics within any organization, you must understand the entire workflow process. The entire workflow process includes how the other services interact with your electronic health record and patient safety and what role pharmacy plays in that process. Understanding just the pharmacy issues of patient safety is not enough. Volunteer to become a member of any patient safety workgroup in your organization. Patient Safety or informatics is not entry level positions.
Professional Organizations/Activities Outside Day-to-Day Job Responsibilities
I belong to ASHP, the Washington Metropolitan Association of Hospital Pharmacists and a member of several Global Standards 1 US work groups designing bar code technology that will trace products from production to end use throughout the supply chain. GS1 is trying to create standards for medications similar to the UPC standard bar codes in the retail industry.
You can reach me by e-mail at Ron.firstname.lastname@example.org