What does a Pharmacy Informatic do?

pharmacy informaticOften overlooked within the healthcare industry, the role of the pharmacy informatic is absolutely essential to the safe prescription of medications and analysis of their effects on patients with varying conditions. The informatics job, which takes on several different forms within healthcare, always involves data analysis, storage, security, and better patient care. This particular job, however, narrows down the broad focus of healthcare informatics into a focus specifically on prescription drugs. This narrower focus means that professionals in this field must be highly qualified both in informatics and pharmacology, often holding at least a graduate degree in one of these fields. With advanced education, the various responsibilities of this role are simply easier and less risky to perform at major hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.

Storage and Organization of Prescription Drug Data

The biggest responsibility of any professional in pharmacy informatics is organizing and storing data in a way that makes it more easily accessible to doctors and pharmacists. This means that most professionals will be working on either creating or maintaining an extensive database of prescription drugs, side effects, outcomes, reactions, and even patients. This database, which is typically coded using Microsoft Access or SQL, must be made easily searchable so that doctors, patients, and pharmacists have the most up-to-date, accurate information on treatment of symptoms and management of side effects.

Storage is only one side of the job, however. Another key responsibility is storage and redundant backup of the database so that it can be protected from hackers or easily restored in the event of serious data loss. This requires the informatics professional to have a moderate understanding of information systems and computer science, which gives them the context needed to properly perform and store backups. This background also helps them secure the sensitive information contained in the broader pharmacy database system.

Analysis of Prescription Drug Issues or Complications

Storage and organization of information is a crucial part of the job, and in some cases these two tasks may be the only ones required of an informatics professional. In many pharmacies and larger hospitals, however, pharmacy informatics must also analyze data that is entered into the database to determine whether certain prescription drugs are performing optimally for patients. If the informatics professional notices a pattern in the database of severe side effects or allergic reactions, they may use this information to recommend against prescribing a given medication until its effects can be more seriously studied and evaluated.

By performing regular analysis of patterns in the database, pharmacy informatics professionals can ensure a better patient experience in times of illness. The discovery of unacceptable patterns in certain drugs may also prompt some manufacturers to reformulate their prescription medications to better benefit patients without burdening them with an endless list of damaging side effects. In this way, the job is both about the essential nature of data and the more human side of analyzing data for the benefit of all stakeholders.

A Very Important Job in Modern Healthcare

Pharmacies may only be associated with the retail side of picking up a prescription, but there are many other process at work behind the scenes. Informatics professionals optimize and secure key data regarding prescription drugs and, when necessary, they use analytical skills to highlight potential problems with each medication. As a result, the job of a pharmacy informatic is absolutely essential when ensuring a higher percentage of positive patient outcomes, no matter how serious the illness.