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So …, I have been at several different pharmacies so far, all of them having different dispensing software. What is the common thread between them?

1. None of them have a place to record a patient’s tobacco use status:

Pharmacists are in a perfect position to record a patient’s tobacco use status and routinely follow-up with them on it using motivational interviewing skills. What other health care provider sees their patients as regularly as we do? Thats right, no one! However, when I decided I wanted to start making these interventions for patients I ran into a dilemma. I have no where to easily flag someone as a tobacco user. So how am I going to allow pharmacists to follow-up on subsequent visits without annoying the patient by asking them about their status every time?

This is quite a simple fix. The developers of these programs should put one more field in, then that field can be populated upon intake for new patients. In the absence of this happening, how can we pro actively, effectively screen and assist our patients?

2. There is no reliable way to input any documentation. What happens when I discover the patient uses tobacco and I want to note that in the system, also note the patient gets half of their prescriptions from Walmart for $4, uses 3 herbal products, and uses aspirin OTC? Well, lets document it in the notes field of our dispensing software. But wait, I only get 2 lines to document this in. How can I possibly get all of this necessary patient information in a legible manner in 2 lines of text?

Pharmacy computer systems need to advance. I believe there are some pharmacists out there who would expand their roles and provide even better patient care if the technology provided to them were to allow them these functions to make it easier. We should not need to keep extra paper charts, index card systems, or similar method if we have a database already which could be expanded to include the totality of relevant data for patient care.

Will pharmacy dispensing system providers ever realize this need and help pharmacies implement pharmaceutical care by making these changes?

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June 2017
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