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Writing in Pharmacy and Improvement of Patient Care Northeastern University

ROLE OF WRITING IN PHARMACY AND IMPROVEMENT OF PATIENT CARE Writing in pharmacy seems like an obscure aspect of pharmacy. Pharmacy is a part of the sciences so it is assumed that pharmacy is devoid of writing; this is untrue. Writing is a flexible tool that can be applied to many fields. There will always be a need to record and comment on the happenings in the world, and so this applies to pharmacy as well. Pharmacists in the research and development sector of the drug industry would have to write reports and records for the experiments and tests that are being run. In the R&D scenario the pharmacists writing would have to be succinct and numerical. These reports are essential for research as they keep everything neat, and more importantly allow the manufacturer to accurately conduct quality assessment for the drug in which they are developing. The realm of writing in R&D is numerical and creative writing would be purposeless. Another area of pharmacy that includes writing would be in the clinical setting. In a clinical setting when there is a particularly ill patient, the pharmacist works closely with other healthcare practitioners (such as the nurse and physician) to figure out the most beneficial route to take in treating said patient. In this scenario the pharmacist would have to write a report with his/her inquiry on the issue of how to treat the patient. In this report the pharmacist would have to succinct and give his/her inquiry. The collaboration with various practitioners essentially results in better more specified treatment of an ill patient. Health magazines are also another avenue for pharmacists to write. While working at a retail pharmacy over the summer my supervisor was subscribed to a couple of pharmacy/industry magazines. There are whole magazines dedicated to the pharmacy profession, written by fellow pharmacists. Most articles within these magazines were drug studies and inquiries, but there were a few magazines that had articles that discussed the fate of the pharmacy profession today, and how to progress the profession. Pharmacists wrote their opinions and suggestions of the profession, and it was very interesting to read the statements of

ROLE OF WRITING IN PHARMACY AND IMPROVEMENT OF PATIENT CARE veteran pharmacists who have been in healthcare for decades. Other pharmacists wrote inquiries on behalf of various pharmacy chains, or drug manufacturers. These magazines I came across were directed at the pharmacy and healthcare community. By these examples it can be said that writing within the professional world is important because it can be used to spread awareness of health issues and knowledge to different demographics of people. In todays society we are read a lot more than we realize, from social networking to quick digestible news sites like Reddit, there are many avenues in which we absorb written knowledge. The field of pharmacy is quite archaic, evolving from the ancient role of the apothecary. The mystical role of the apothecary in ancient times was to formulate and prepare medications for caregivers and surgeons to be used to treat an ill patient. Today the pharmacist is healthcare professional whose core responsibility is to ensure safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by the physician. The goal of healthcare system in the US is to effectively treat and prevent ailments within the population. For the health system to be effective all practitioners within healthcare have to be efficient and thorough in their procedures. The pharmacist plays an integral role in healthcare as he/she is in control of distribution of drugs to the patient, and as is essentially a final outlet to the patient before the patient takes a medication. Being able to communicate well is an important skill that all pharmacists must possess. Aside from having a firm grasp of human anatomy and pharmacology, the pharmacy must also possess interpersonal skills in order be able to aid patients who may have questions about the drug they were prescribed. What interests me most about pharmacy is the combination of chemistry mechanisms with physiology. The pharmacist not only learns about the drug mechanisms of action, but also gets to see how the compounds studied in class are directed affecting the human body pharmacologically. I have only worked in a community pharmacy as a student, so I cannot truly

ROLE OF WRITING IN PHARMACY AND IMPROVEMENT OF PATIENT CARE say what my concrete future plans are as I still would like to co-op at in hospital to get a feel of the clinical setting. In the distant future I would like to work to improve accessibility of health information. With the rapidity of the technological world today it would not far-fetched to say that we could not improve accessibility of health information to the personal level, to where patients could become more knowledgeable about their ailments. When I worked at a community pharmacy last summer I saw readily patients utilized the pharmacy in receiving medication information, which was good because it improved patient care. Information Weeks article, 10 Popular Information Systems on the top ten pharmacy information systems is an interesting article, because it makes note of the most popular (on an unknown basis) pharmacy computer systems and what each pharmacy information company is doing to excel/improve the efficiency of the pharmacy. The website is sectioned off into various health care dichotomies, such as Leadership, The Patient, Security & Privacy, and Electronic Medical Records. By just viewing the sectioning of Information Weeks health care website and also reading the excerpt of the article/slideshow choosing the right pharmacy information system for your practice it could be inferred that this article is directed at the healthcare audience. The article is in slide form, each slide showing a picture of the individual companys computer system. The excerpt on each pharmacy system provides details on why that particular pharmacy information system is excelling in the industry. I have only worked at one pharmacy so my exposure to various pharmacy systems is limited, but I did recognized McKesson which is very much widely used and discussed. The excerpt is relatively concise compared to other pharmacy information articles available online. The slide format coupled with the concise excerpt and the minimal picturing alludes to multiple aspects of the nature of Information Weeks health care section and more importantly this article.

ROLE OF WRITING IN PHARMACY AND IMPROVEMENT OF PATIENT CARE The audience of this article is differently involved in healthcare, because the article focuses less on the description of the particular companies, and more on the noteworthy aspects of the information system. In other words the author of the article assumes that the reader would already know about these popular information systems, what the reader might know was the specifics on why this particular pharmacy information system is effective. Also the succinct nature of the article could also be attributed to the personality of Information Weeks website. Information Week provides interesting and informative information in a somewhat magazinedigestible format. Thus the article (and the magazine-esque title) is not as a prodigious as an industry study would be. The author of this slideshow/article discussed the pharmacy information systems in a journalistic manner. This is expressed by the slide on Epic Willows pharmacy system, Willow is a key component of Epic's closed-loop medication ordering and administration process, linking pharmacists, ordering physicians, and nurses to a single medication order record. Willow allows pharmacists to monitor medication treatment and improve medical outcomes and patient safety, the authors frequent use of commas and listing Epics benefits in a digestible manner express the journalistic tone of the article. Even though the article isnt necessarily meant to read in a scholarly fashion, the author still uses technical pharmacy jargon, HMS Pharmacy's integration capabilities allow the free-flow of data into other HMS applications, including CPOE, eMAR, patient accounting, and clinical documentation, features that help support pharmacy best practices by providing timely access to vital signs, lab data, and other critical patient information. In addition, the platform can interface with all the leading drug cabinet vendors, this excerpt from the slide on Healthcare Management Systems is strewn with technical terms that would probably resonate with a pharmacy computer technician, or a hospital executive would probably.

ROLE OF WRITING IN PHARMACY AND IMPROVEMENT OF PATIENT CARE Improvement of patient care should always be the prime priority regardless of where in the healthcare system a provider lies. The pharmacy is also a place where many slip-ups could be prevented. Unfortunately a bastion of human errors can and do occur within the pharmacy. Pharmacy computer software help keep things organized by arranging and holding various patient files, and keeps the inventory of the pharmacy. The advantages of computers are countless, but the advantages of pharmacy computer software are hindered due to the plethora of different pharmacy computer software on the market. Each big chain, independent, and hospital pharmacy has their own software in which the pharmacist and technicians need to learn. Would it not be easier and more productive to have a universal pharmacy system that a pharmacy student could learn before entering the job force? This slideshow/article discusses the advantages of the top pharmacy information systems. Each pharmacy, company, or hospital, has their own individual pharmacy system and I believe that this is quite redundant. A unified pharmacy information system in my opinion would result in decreased medication errors since all pharmacies would be on one system. A universal pharmacy system could possibly result in increased patient adherence and monitoring, because there would be unified force of regulation. Multiple systems allow for slip ups and even fraudulent entrees. This article (a written piece of work directed towards the pharmacy/healthcare community) has shown me what other pharmacy systems are out there, and which information systems are making innovations. Although I am not an information systems major, articles like this interest me as they expand my knowledge about my profession, and will help me develop an expansive knowledge of the healthcare industry in general to be used for discussion in professional situations.

ROLE OF WRITING IN PHARMACY AND IMPROVEMENT OF PATIENT CARE References Chappell, Charles R., and James Hartz. "The Challenge of Communicating Science to the Public." The Challenge of Communicating Science to the Public. 20 Mar. 1998. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 29 Sept. 2013 <>.

Vecchione, Anthony. "InformationWeek: The Business Value of Technology."InformationWeek. 13 June 2012. InformationWeek/Healthcare. 29 Sept. 2013 <>.