Joy Meier, PharmD, BCACP, PA, currently serves as a clinical pharmacy specialist and data analyst for the Veterans Health Administration, and is responsible for managing, maintaining, and developing the VISN 21 Pharmacy Benefits Management Dashboard and Reports SharePoint site. She started out in pharmacy with a focus on ambulatory care clinical pharmacy in direct patient care. Over 27 years, her career morphed into formulary management and then population management. She is active on several clinical taskforces within the VA (i.e., Endocrine, Oncology, Antimicrobial Stewardship, Anticoagulation, Nutrition, and Adverse Effects Tracking). As part of these taskforces, she organizes and develops both pharmacy and clinical data to provide a solid base upon which pharmacists, clinicians, and managers can derive data-driven decisions in order to meet the pharmaceutical and medical needs of veterans in a cost-effective manner that optimizes patient outcomes. Prior to receiving her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1990, she was employed as a physician assistant for 6 years. Meier was an APhA member early in her career, and resumed her membership 3 years ago.
Meier is an APhA member. APhA offers federal pharmacists a 50% discount on dues in recognition of their service and sacrifices to our country. Federal technicians also receive a discounted rate. The Federal Pharmacy Forum occurs in conjunction with the 2017 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition and is free as part of the meeting registration package. The Forum will be held at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, beginning with an evening reception on Friday, March 23, and continuing with a day-long education and networking program on Friday, March 24. Attendees can reserve their spot at the Forum by visiting www.aphameeting.pharmacist.com.
How did you become so involved in the data analysis portion of pharmacy?
In the mid-1990s, the VA began conducting national drug contract solicitations. I became very interested in how we could best take advantage of these contracts in our patient population in a clinically sound and safe process and be good stewards of our financial resources. I also wanted to determine if we were using drugs according to evidence-based guidelines. Initially, I worked with local IT to extract data on prescription and visit diagnosis from the extensive VA electronic health record (EHR). I then used relational databases to merge this data. Over a few years, the types and amount of data grew, and then eventually the VA began extracting multiple data domains from the VA EHR and transforming to SQL database format for end-users to analyze.
After working as a physician assistant for a few years, what brought you to pharmacy?
My first job in college was a hospital pharmacy technician—I was trained on the job. This was during the late 1970s, when clinical pharmacy was in its infancy. Although I was keenly interested in pharmacotherapy, I decided to become a physician assistant so I could have more direct patient management. Several years later, I was introduced to clinical pharmacists in an academic setting, and I decided that was the career for me.
What got you reengaged in APhA three years ago?
Over the years, APhA has provided more and more excellent programming for ambulatory care clinical pharmacists. So, when BPS developed the BCACP certificate program, I became reengaged with APhA.
For our student pharmacists or new practitioners: What piece of advice did you receive that you wish you hadn’t ignored early in your career?
Looking back, I wish I had continued being active in APhA throughout my career.
What’s next after this adventure?
Leveraging the EHR to optimize patient population health management is both fun and challenging. I think we are still working on how we can best use these decision support tools to help our providers provide care and also engage our patients in their own care.