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August 04, 2022

Unleash Pharmacy Transformation with Intelligent Infrastructure

Ken Perez
Vice President, Healthcare Policy and Government Affairs, Omnicell

Nearly every hospital patient receives medications dispensed by pharmacy, and nearly every patient bill includes medications managed by pharmacy.

Over the last 12 months, drug spend in the US totaled $576 billion. At the same time, the proliferation of new drugs and supply chain issues – 242 known drug shortages as of Q1 – have added significant complexity to medication inventory in hospitals and health systems.

The current pharmacy, and to some extent, the entire health-system infrastructure, is inhibiting care delivery, efficiency, and cost containment with time-consuming and error-prone manual processes. But CIOs and CFOs can help support their pharmacy leaders in identifying solutions to address burdens of cost, safety, and inefficiencies by closing digital gaps and investing in an intelligent infrastructure.

Pharmacy deserves a seat at the table of digital transformation.

Jillian Foster, PharmD, MBA, FACHE, FASHP, is a member of the Autonomous Pharmacy Advisory Board. She is also the System Pharmacy Service Line Administrator at Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation (BMHCC), which has facilities and services in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

BMHCC is simultaneously focused on the challenges of reducing acute care drug spend and improving their drug delivery model, with IV preparation and diversion detection as the chief drug delivery concerns.

Fewer than 15% of healthcare systems currently automate sterile compounding, yet in an average outpatient pharmacy, it is estimated that four medication errors occur every single day. Dr. Foster says that while most daily errors do not lead to adverse drug events, all errors could and should be prevented before ever reaching the patient by removing as much of the human element as possible, replacing manual medication-use processes with automation. 

Similarly, drug diversion detection also relies heavily on manual processes, from reconciling drug orders to medications removed from cabinets to accounting for waste, often using multiple systems.

As an industry, it’s time to drive toward a solution set that speaks to medication management challenges holistically. The goal is to move pharmacists and other clinicians to the center of patient care where they can practice at the top of their license.

But automation alone is not enough. Data from automated systems must be leveraged to deliver intelligent insights.

Just as medication is the backbone of care delivery, an intelligent infrastructure is imperative for more efficient and effective medication management.

The Autonomous Pharmacy applies connected automation and integrated data intelligence throughout the pharmacy care delivery process to improve safety, efficiency, financial performance, and regulatory compliance — to allow pharmacists, pharmacy staff, and other clinicians to realize the full scope of their healthcare provider role.

I recently hosted the Scottsdale Institute webinar, "Intelligent Infrastructure is the Key to Unleashing Pharmacy Transformation," with Jillian Foster and Allen Flynn, PhD, PharmD, who is the Director of the Master’s in Health Informatics Program and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. During our conversation, they shared how the Autonomous Pharmacy Framework offers guideposts to automate manual processes and allows pharmacists to practice at the top of their license.

You can listen to a replay here.

For more information on the Autonomous Pharmacy, including a self-assessment tool, visit