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ASHP Foundation Pharmacy Forecast provides guidance for health-system pharmacy departments
Kate Setzler 1380

ASHP Foundation Pharmacy Forecast provides guidance for health-system pharmacy departments

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Strategy

Aneesh Asokan, PharmD, MBA

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and ASHP Foundation released the 11th edition of the Pharmacy Forecast report, which provides an insightful perspective on the factors that can affect patient care, population health, and the pharmacy profession. A recurring theme throughout this year’s report is the unique position of health systems to promote health and provide quality health care to their communities.

The 2023 Pharmacy Forecast covers a broader range of topics compared to last year’s report. The themes covered this year include lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, public trust, health disparities, patient-centric healthcare delivery, reliance on technology, and workforce planning and optimization.

Experts tackled these various topics to better speak to the data at hand. Each discussion on the individual or grouped themes yielded several recommendations listed in the forecast for health-system pharmacies to consider. Below are some of the standout discussion points.

An illustration of four individuals seen from behind, all wearing coats. They are looking at a diagram of a covid virus drawn upon a chalkboard

COVID-19: Lessons learned

Many pharmacy experts surveyed for the report believe that 25% of seasoned leaders will leave their position due to the stress brought on by the pandemic. They also believe that health systems will likely expand their programs to support the behavioral health of their employees to combat the potential exodus of seasoned pharmacy leaders.

Although health systems are well-equipped to deal with most health crises, the pandemic resulted in a systemic, sustained, and unrelenting pressure on the entire health care delivery system. Key areas highlighted in this theme were emergency preparedness, supply chain issues, leadership and succession, and substance use disorder services.

In the report, experts recommended that health-system leaders continue to engage and monitor their teams so that they can align their personal and professional development goals with those of the organization. Similarly, health systems should consider developing predictive analyses on drug utilization and consumption of resources to combat future disasters, burnout, and patient care coverage.

Regaining trust in public health

Past pandemics have brought out a general mistrust in health institutions and government, and the COVID-19 pandemic was no different. Misinformation ran rampant through many different channels, and it was up to health care professionals to pick up the pieces and redirect patients to safe and effective care.

Despite the general mistrust of government agencies, most experts surveyed believe health systems will not independently partner with new entities to gather real-world evidence to help regain public trust. They also think it’s unlikely that there will ever be a restructuring of FDA to shield the agency from outside influences.

Some recommendations provided by experts to address health misinformation include strengthening relationships between local, state, and federal health programs. Authors of the report also said health systems should exercise broader visibility by using existing media platforms.

Addressing health disparities

Experts surveyed believe that there will be a higher demand for pharmacists with advanced training in mental health, such as board certification in psychiatric pharmacy.

This may be a direct result of the pandemic’s strain not only on health care professionals, but on the general public. However, experts are doubtful that health systems will double their capacity to deliver mental health services due to varying health care constraints.

The pandemic highlighted the prevalence of health disparities and the importance of both understanding and acknowledging social determinants of health (SDOH). Ideally, having a better grasp on SDOH issues may result in improved discussions concerning mental health and workplace diversity.

In the report, experts recommended that health systems develop and implement standardized SDOH data collection, such as electronic health record integration, and training health care professionals on using SDOH data to reduce and potentially eliminate health disparities.

Other topics

While these data do not represent an accurate prediction of future events, it can be viewed as a stimulus for discussion, and planning for health systems to implement for the next 5 years. Pharmacy professionals can view the full report at apha.us/ASHP23PharmacyForecast to learn more about the findings and some of the other topics discussed. ■

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