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APhA CEO Blog

Will technology help or hinder pharmacy careers?

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January 26, 2016

Recently, www.komando.com published an article, “5 careers that tech will destroy in 2016.” I was surprised to see pharmacists listed as number four. In my time, there have been similar claims made when other new technologies have been introduced.

The article points to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who are working on developing a large room-sized robot called PillPick that allows patients to pick up their prescriptions vending-machine style.

Although technology can reduce time patients wait in line to pick up their prescriptions, and it can help ensure that the right medication is dispensed to the right patient using bar coding. I believe that technology will only enhance pharmacy roles, not “destroy” them.

Imagine the additional services and patient education that pharmacists could provide if the time it takes to dispense medications is reduced. This would allow pharmacists to more fully integrate into the patient care team and spend more time working with patients to help them manage their diseases and optimize medication use. It would also allow pharmacists to take on greater roles in terms of providing services such as immunizations.

From my point of view, technology is a valuable tool pharmacists can wield to ensure optimal drug therapy, improved patient care, and enhanced communication with other members of the patient’s medical team. Many patients appreciate the relationship and trust they have with their pharmacist. We should not take that relationship for granted.

In case you’re curious, other professions rounding out the five careers include paralegals, store customer service clerks, some journalists, and drivers.