Thomas Fagan received his B.S. Pharmacy Degree from Rutgers College of Pharmacy in New Jersey in 1984. In lieu of a residency, Thomas spent his first year of practice in an acute care setting in a small community hospital in New Jersey that had a unique decentralized unit dose system where pharmacists rounded the inpatient wards, interfaced with nurses and physicians and dispensed unit dose medication without automation, not much of which existed in 1985. While practicing in acute care, Thomas also learned sterile compounding techniques and calculations for IV admixtures, total parenteral nutrition and chemotherapy. Thomas received his Masters in Business Administration with concentration in information systems from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1994. Thomas completed the American Medical Informatics Association’s (AMIA) 10X10 Health Informatics Course in November 2012, the first Pharmacist in the inaugural class sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs Health System (VHA).
Thomas currently works for the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VHA), Pharmacy Clinical Informatics National Program Office, working with a group of dedicated, passionate and professional Pharmacy Informaticists, mostly Pharmacists. The national Program Office provides the opportunity for frequent and regular interprofessional contact with pharmacy informacists in all fifty states, Washington DC , Puerto Rico and Manila. There are unique opportunities for informatics and analytics in the VHA pharmacy role given the extensive access to reporting tools, such as VA FileMan (EHR database management tool) and database queries using SQL (Structured Query Language) against the VHA’s Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW).
Overview of Facility/Health System
The VHA is largest health care system in the US offering health care to over 9 million enrolled Veterans at 170 Medical Centers and numerous outpatient clinics. The Pharmacy Clinical Informatics Program Office is the business owner of Pharmacy related software and responsible for medication related software such as drug file, clinical decision support system and data analytics. The main goal is to support safe and efficient medication management across the heath system. The Program Office also provides education and training on pharmacy informatics, using several modalities including remote live meetings, face-to-face conferences and computer-based training.
Thomas supports the goal of the Clinical Pharmacy Informatics Program Office to provide standardized Pharmacy Informatics Education and Training. Thomas was instrumental in implementing a Pharmacy Informatics Certificate program specific to VHA Pharmacy Informatics. Thomas is also involved in the use of data analytics to support and enhance safe and productive medication management.
Initial Involvement in ASHP
Thomas is a long-time ASHP member and became a member of the Education Steering Committee in 2018 for Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology (SOPIT) and continues to be an active SOPIT member. Thomas has presented an Informatics Pearl at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting twice.
Advice for Someone New to Your Specialty Area
Thomas recommends that someone new to Clinical Pharmacy Informatics continue to learn and network with others, and a great way to do this is participation and involvement in a professional association such as ASHP. He also recommends obtaining certification in Pharmacy or Clinical Informatics which validates competency and helps to distinguish yourself.
Why did you become involved in ASHP?
Thomas has been working for VHA in government health care system since 1995 and stays involved in ASHP to network with peers with common interests in the private sector and to share ideas.
How would you explain the value of ASHP to a friend or colleague?
Participation in ASHP allows you the opportunity to advance the profession of pharmacy at a national level by sharing ideas with others who have common interests. Benefits of participation allow you to advocate for your professional role and the future of the profession, network, socialize and learn about career opportunities. Thomas is proud to work with ASHP members to unite the voice of Pharmacy Informatics at national level.
What is the value of ASHP for the profession?
ASHP fosters networking at national and international level between people with common interests which helps advocate for the profession. ASHP also unites the voice of Pharmacy Informatics at a national level, resulting in the use of Informatics to enhance the safety and efficiency of medication management for our patients.