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SOPIT Chair Message January 2021

January 2021

Dear Colleagues, 

Happy New Year everyone!  

Wow, there have been a lot of developments since my last message.  We held the first virtual Midyear Clinical Meeting, we had multiple socially distant holidays, and as I’m sure you are aware, we now have two available vaccines for COVID-19 and are working quickly to immunize our populations. I hope that all of you are doing well.  This holiday season was challenging to say the least, whether you stayed home with your quarantine unit or travelled, things were certainly different and more distant this year than they have been, and that can be stressful.  With the added pressures of vaccination clinics and coordination, I want to urge you to find some peace where you can celebrate your success of making it to 2021 and give yourself some much deserved self-care.  Remember that you are worthy of the same attention you give others, so treat yourself for making it through 2020.

Midyear Clinical Meeting 2020

I hope you had a chance to attend the virtual Midyear meeting this December.  I did, and I had a great time with both the live and a la carte (recorded) sessions.  The informatics specific content was great, spanning talks on safety and informatics projects, speech recognition, and new technology developments. The programming was top notch and I wanted to thank all of the speakers for their hard work.  Having recorded some lectures virtually and given some live but virtual, this is an added challenge on top of presenting and I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in bringing this together for us. 

One session I especially appreciated was with Paul Walker, Pharm.D., FASHP, and the Town Hall that was presented from the Task Force on Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Paul presented and answered questions on the 31 draft recommendations from the group.  These recommendations span the areas of ASHP’s governance and committees, education and training, research, publications, advocacy, marketing, and communications, and make strong recommendations for improvements in many key areas of ASHP’s progress. The comment period is now closed and we are awaiting to see the results of the presentation to the Board of Directors on Jan. 28.   

I also wanted to share congratulations to Sylvia Belford, PharmD, MS, CPHIMS, FASHP, for being awarded the 2020 ASHP Distinguished Service Award for the Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology!  Sylvia has served our section at ASHP for many years and has been a long time contributor.  Having worked with her on the Executive Committee, I can personally speak to her outstanding drive and sense of purpose in expanding and growing the field of pharmacy informatics and educating our membership and others for years.  You have done so much for all of us and we are all so thankful to you, Sylvia!

I also wanted to thank our great roundtable facilitators and participants from our networking sessions at the Midyear meeting for the Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology.  The networking sessions for SOPIT went excellently, and I personally really liked the Zoom breakout rooms structure and found it to be good for keeping conversation flowing.  Thanks to everyone who attended and shared our thoughts on the topics at hand.

Finally, don’t forget to claim your CE from Midyear!  All continuing pharmacy education credits must be claimed within 60 days of the live session you attended. To be sure your CE is accepted inside of ACPE’s 60-day window, plan to process your CE before the deadlines: live content: Feb. 1, 2021; and home study content: March 1, 2021.

Pfizer, Moderna, and freezers – Oh My!

We’ve finally gotten vaccines!  This has been a long time coming, and although in a traditional sense this came quite rapidly, we have been in need of a vaccine to combat the virus swiftly spreading within our communities.  Now I’m sure that many of you are in a place where you may have had the opportunity to receive the vaccine already or are soon to, but after we pass the phase 1a of the CDC recommended vaccine roll out, we are going to get into challenging areas within our health systems.  Prioritizing populations and equitably allocating scarce resources is a very challenging thing to do.  No single solution is going to fit everyone, and each state, county, city, and health care entity are going to have to make choices to ensure that decisions are made openly, and fairly across the population of people they care for.  The article Predictably Unequal, published in NPJ Digital Medicine, is a great read about how equity and fairness are handled through algorithms, especially those that prioritize polar predictions (binary outcomes where one outcome (from the perspective of the patient) is favorable versus unfavorable).  This article covers methods and recommendations for analyzing your predictive models which may be great to inform your conversations even if you aren’t using a model to identify your population.  Ensure you and your organizations are considering the risks and benefits of your population. Perhaps look at a heat map by zip code of where the virus has impacted the community the most, identify areas that may have technology adoption issues and thus may miss messages to schedule a vaccine, and find out how your hospital can support those most in need in obtaining access to care. All of these and many other approaches can help to ensure that the vaccine is made available based on equity and fairness as recommended by ACIP and the CDC.

2020 ASHP Commission on Goals

On Dec. 8, ASHP published online the Executive summary of the meeting of the 2020 ASHP Commission on Goals: preparing the healthcare workforce for a digital future. This article summarizes the thoughts of leaders in healthcare and related fields surrounding the strategic areas of focus for the ASHP Board.  The areas discussed in this article are below, and heavily involve pharmacy informatics, as well as many other areas in pharmacy leadership.  I encourage you to give this a detailed read.

Areas covered:

  • Improving care through advances in healthcare technologies
  • Learning from the experience of the electronic health record
  • Connected care
  • Innovations in dispensing
  • The central role of data
  • Optimizing medication use through technology
  • Digital therapeutic products
  • Digital ingestion tracking systems
  • Predictive platforms
  • From small devices to big data
  • Regulation
  • Challenges to optimizing medication use through technology
  • Preparing the workforce for the digital future

New Year, New You

A lot of people like to work on the annual tradition of goal setting around the new year.  Personally, I find it nice around the first of the year to identify some things from the past year that I want to set aside, either some habits, or some items that are no longer serving their purpose at my home and donate them or remove them from my life.  Though I usually set some goals for myself for the upcoming year in addition, as I’m guessing a lot of you do too.  I’ve found that I’ve not always been successful with these, and in fact, there have been some years that by February, I’m left scratching my head about what exactly I had decided to commit to back just a month before.  If you sometimes fall into this bucket too, I pulled a short list of some different goal setting methods for you to peruse, maybe these fit your style, maybe they don’t, but I found them interesting reads at least.  At the end of the day, at minimum by reviewing these perhaps you’ll have a few more tools in your belt to put towards goal setting in any area of your life.

  • SMART goal setting is a framework you have probably used, but this is a good article on how and why they work
  • Backwards Goal Setting is a trend I’ve heard about recently that seems similar to me to the process in project management for creating a work breakdown structure. I haven’t tried this yet, but for larger goals it seems like a good tool to be able to accomplish them, similar to how we accomplish large tasks at work
  • In a TED talk by Simon Sinek he discusses the concept of the Golden Circle, and applying this to our goals can be a motivational tool, and although the article I linked to is about a business, I think this can draw a nice parallel to our personal goals as long as we follow the process
  • Warren Buffet’s “2 List” Strategy is actually very interesting, this is the one I’m working on this year, we’ll see how it pans out

Important Dates

  • Jan. 15, 2021 – National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference Proposals due, if you are working on one, please be sure to get this in by Friday!
  • Feb. 1, 2021 – ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting 2021 Proposals due, again if you have it in the works, be sure to complete this and submit by the end of January.  If you want to submit but haven’t thought of a topic, see this list for some suggested proposals.
  • Feb. 1, 2021 – in case you missed it above, live content CE credits from MCM 2020 are due, follow this process to submit them
  • Early February through April 1, 2021 – SAG Reappointments open, if you are currently serving on, or desire to work on a Section Advisory Group or Committee in the coming academic year please remember to look for this survey to indicate your interest areas and expertise
  • Early February through April 1, 2021 – If you are interested in participating in the Section Executive Committee, the application for Executive Committee Positions will also open.  I urge all interested members who would like to help guide the section to submit an application. We need expertise from all backgrounds and experiences on the committee and we desire to hear your voice!  Want to know more about the positions and responsibilities?  Check out this site that can tell you more.
  • March 1, 2021 – in case you missed this too above, home study content CE credits from the Midyear meeting are due, follow this process to submit them.

In closing, I just wanted to thank all of you for all you do for the profession of pharmacy and pharmacy informatics.  I am in awe of what we have completed as a profession this last year and am very excited to see all that we can continue to do as we progress into 2021.  

With much respect,

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