EHR helps us know our patients better

We know our medications! Pharmacists need to be part of any electronic health record (EHR) system in which our patients’ records are stored, so we can know our patients better.

I recently read the words of William Osler, MD, who wrote in an 1892 textbook, The Principles and Practice of Medicine, and urged doctors to “care more particularly for the individual patient than for the special features of the disease.” Pharmacists have the same charge: to care more particularly about the individual patient than for the special features of their medications and their disease. To be most effective in caring for the patient, we need all the information, and we must be on the team.

Many pharmacists are unaware that APhA is collaborating with other national pharmacy organizations to get pharmacists connected with EHRs, and not just as a funnel to receive often erroneous transmissions of electronic prescription orders. We need to be able to respond to those orders with information, patient observations, and recommendations for the prescriber as warranted. And we need to be unblinded to the rest of the health records so we can know our patients the way our colleague physicians and nurses know them.

That’s why these organizations got together to form the Pharmacy e-Health Information Technology Collaborative, hired an executive director more than 2 years ago, and began the campaign to get you plugged in. We know you can provide better patient care if you know more about your patients.

And we’re making progress! Did you know that more than 300 SNOMED CT (Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine–Clinical Terms) codes that will allow pharmacists to characterize their patient care have been approved and adopted by the National Library of Medicine? If you want to know more, check us out.