Saving Lives: The Role of The Pharmacist in HIV

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About Dr Dao

โ€œ๐™๐™š๐™˜๐™๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ก๐™ค๐™œ๐™ฎ ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ค๐™ก, ๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™˜๐™–๐™ง๐™š ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™œ๐™ค๐™–๐™ก.โ€

Tony Dao, PharmD, CPHIMS, CSSBB, LSSBB, PMC HI is a pharmacy IS/informatics specialist currently practicing at a large pediatric hospital. He always had an affinity towards technology so when he discovered pharmacy informatics, that became the path he set his goals for.

Since graduating, he has practiced as an informatics pharmacist at Ventura County Medical Center and now at CHOC Childrenโ€™s. His work includes clinical decision support, oncology EHR, report writing, clinical documentation, and project implementations. In addition, he also works as a per diem clinical pharmacist for Kindred Healthcare.

He is a board member of OCPhA and the Digital Outreach Chair and Host of the OCPhA podcast. He also volunteers his time participating in the Section of Pharmacy Informatics & Technology Section Advisory Group at ASHP, the Editorial Advisory Board at Pharmacy Times, a local member of OCSHP, and guest lecturing at various pharmacy schools on pharmacy technology and informatics. He is a recipient of the OCPhA Pharmacist of the Year award for the 2019-2020 year. Identifying a gap in pharmacy informatics education, he along with his colleagues co-founded the Pharmacy Informatics Academy. For fun, he and his friends run an escape room business called UNLOCKED: Escape Room in Costa Mesa, CA

โ€œBE THE CHANGEโ€

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What you will learn

  • What is Pharmacy Informatics
  • Why is Tech so important in pharmacy
  • What is DHX Virtual2020 and Why you should attend
  • Wearables and taking care of yourself and self care

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Transcription

Michelle:
This is Michelle Sherman, president of Michelle Rex pharmacist consulting services and your host for the conscious pharmacist podcast. Welcome to this week’s episode where I’m so thrilled to have our guest this week, dr. Tony Dow, who is a pharmacist extraordinary here in orange County, California, a member of the California pharmacists association, board member of the orange County pharmacist association, a member of so many of the pharmacy organizations and just a few highlights of things, because we’re going to be talking about digital health and the pharmacist today and the upcoming PHX virtual conference hosted by CPHI of which dr. Dow is a speaker, but some, some of the highlights and things that he’s done, he, he hosts two podcasts and I hope you all have subscribed and listened to him. And if you haven’t, today’s your chance to subscribe to his excellent protocols. The first one is pharmacy it and me, which discusses informatics and the role of the pharmacist in healthcare.

Michelle:
He is also the host of the orange County pharmacist association podcast. He’s also a cofounder of the pharmacy informatics Academy. He’s on the editorial advisory board as a member for pharmacy times, and he is, he is a true techie, a pharmacist and a techie. So welcome to the show, Tony. Thanks. Thanks for being on the show today. Yeah, of course.

Tony:
Thanks, Michelle. I’m really excited to speak with you today.

Michelle:
No, my pleasure. Thank you so much. So tell us a little bit about you and what you do and how you got into informatics and for those listeners out there, those pharmacists, those techs out there, they don’t even know what that is. Can you explain a little bit about what that is and how the technology reps up into informatics?

Tony:
The term of informatics? It’s kind of like if you break down the term, it’s like the science of information. And when you look at the practice of pharmacy informatics, it’s mostly the integration of the technology pieces to the medication use process and pharmacy informatics can span different areas. Like it could be an industry, it could be in managed care, it could be in the hospice systems. So from my role, I’m mostly focused on the hospital system side. So I worked for a hospital and I primarily work on, you know, projects that we will

Tony:
Implement over time that would kind of optimize and improve patient safety and care using the technologies that we have. It may be, you know, the technologies that are functions that are already available in our EHR that we just have to build and make sure that it works well, or it could be like their party applications or hardware that we would integrate into our systems so that we could improve some of our processes in the patient care delivery and pharmacy services. So that’s kind of like the really, really high level, if you want to go into some more detail, I guess some of the things is clinical decision support, which is, you know, building certain rules or logic into the system that would fire alerts or actions that kind of guide the process for providers to order medications or for pharmacists or nurses to dispense and administer medications and other things too, like barcode medication administration fast to ensure that, you know, when they’re scanning the medication at bedside, the five rights are followed.

Tony:
The system makes sure that the right drug has the right patient, other things too, like our third party applications that we’ve been working on, you know, other things that we have our, you know, third party applications for investigation though, drug studies. So we have a third party application that would kind of like make sure all the logs are there, the accountability logs and the the ability for tracking all of that. So that sponsors have the documentation to ensure that the organization is following the requirements of the study, you know, things like that. And that list really goes on and on. There’s a lot of different technology aspects in the hospital side that I’m involved with and my team members are involved with. So I would say that, you know, I could talk about that like forever. Like it’s just a lot of different things, but yeah, to answer your other question about how I got into it, I guess when I was in pharmacy school, I knew that I wanted to be a pharmacist because it was the best way to be the most accessible healthcare person, like healthcare professional, and going through pharmacy school, I was always a techie.

Tony:
And when I found out that, you know, technology can be used in pharmacy and in pharmacy, informatics is a field in itself that got me to try to get myself into that field as much as I could. So I just looked through all the current positions out there, all the things that people are doing and really just network as much as I could with people who are already currently working in the field. And eventually like that got me to be more, I guess, acknowledged that I was very interested in it. So when I graduated basically through leveraging my network, I was able to land a position in Ventura County to be part of their implementation team for them converting their EHR from an 18 year old system to a brand new one. So that’s how I got started. And just from then on, I just continued to network and expand my, my knowledge base by just continuing to learn more.

Michelle:
Oh, that’s, that’s so amazing. You know, it’s like taking a, a part that’s the non traditional part, really just not working like in the chain, the traditional mindset of thinking what, what like a pharmacist does and, you know, with, with the tech and everything that you do have you found that like over time by implementing these procedures and these rules and everything that it’s actually affected, like better outcomes for the patients in the hospital, I’m sure it has, but you know, obviously improve patient outcomes and accessibility and utilization for the hospital staff and everything has got to be enhanced by these programs.

Tony:
Yeah, definitely. So in my my role at my previous institution, the County system, I was heavily involved in medication safety committee. So we always have like meetings every month and we would always like review all the medication, safety issues and creatively work solutions, and then implement them in our, in our system, continuing to monitor to see like if these kind of issues still exist or not. And one of the major things, which, you know, every system has, is alert, fatigue, where, you know, there’s just too many alerts and providers are just bypassing them all the time. So, you know, our process was every, every month or every two months we’d run a report. And then we would just see like how many of these alerts are being bypassed and then looking at those bypass alerts and then seeing if like these bypass alerts are opportunities where we can remove them from our system, whether they are really clinically relevant or not.

Tony:
And then once we do, we have a tight remove, like maybe 10 or so, each time we meet and then the next time we come back and then we would run the report again to kind of see, like there are more bypasses, less bypasses and just see of like the overall feeling by surveying the providers, if the overall feeling is that they trust the system more. And if they are feeling that they are going to be providing better care for the patients, because now the alerts make sense to them or now the alerts actually matter and they don’t want to bypass it. So it’s like a long process, but of course, like these things don’t happen overnight. You know, you’re right. There are many opportunities where we do see improvements. Of course, there’s also with technology implementations, you kind of see some issues come up where you wouldn’t expect because technology wasn’t there to cause these issues. And then those things, we also have to work overtime as well.

Michelle:
And everything’s like happening in real time. I mean, for any of our listeners out there or any pharmacists out there, if everybody is well aware that healthcare is under the seismic cataclysmic shift and pharmacies like right in the middle of these changes and everything, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been thrust forward into changes that could be talking about digital health tele-health and things like that, looking to the future. But as you mentioned earlier, before we were talking, these things are happening like now and yesterday. So one of the things we’re going to talk about also today, which is coming up on October 2nd through fourth is the California pharmacists association, digital health conference, the DHX show 2020. And I know you’re a as well, so let our listeners know what is this virtual conference and why would it be important for pharmacist to attend?

Tony:
Yeah, of course. And you know, I really give the credit to Risa Tonka. Like she’s been sharing the entire conference and putting together just such an amazing group of speakers over like 45 speakers, this upcoming event, which is so much more than last year, last year was the first time the conference occurred and had like, I think about maybe 10 or so speakers, I don’t remember the exact number, but it’s been a lot more this year. And for this upcoming conference, I’ll only have like a session for myself, like about 30 minutes with my colleague David’s VU, and we’ll be talking about pharmacy informatics and technology and how they integrate into healthcare. However, the rest of the conference is very, very instrumental in showing pharmacists who, you know, maybe just be interested in, but don’t know much about digital health yet, but the conference will be an opportunity to have everyone learn more and engage in discussion with what’s coming ahead, pharmacists.

Tony:
So to answer your question about like, what is this conference, basically, a tagline for this conference is designing pharmacy speeches together. And as you already mentioned you know, telehealth and digital health tools and report room or patient monitoring, position medicine, all of these things are, you know, expanding really quickly and rapidly, especially telehealth. And I’m not sure if you knew this, but you know, when when COVID-19 started, the government actually reduced some of the requirements of telehealth because they wanted to make sure that it was easier to get adopted. Like there were less barriers for adoption. So, you know, it just goes to show like how fast these things are being adopted. And the conference is going to be focusing in on that. It’s going to be a three day experience and there’s going to be like an opportunity to learn more from the vendors out there that are involved in all these technologies.

Tony:
There’s a lot of networking and discovery involved. It’s actually really cool that Dr. Tonka has told me that the platform that they’re using Ashley really promotes networking because the platform itself allows people to kind of connect one-on-one directly with speakers after their sessions, and then their digital health virtual exhibits are also a very good opportunity to kind of like virtually visit the exhibit hall and then meet with the vendors and watch videos and engage in that way. So it’s really cool. And then, you know, on Friday on that session that I was talking about, it’s actually part of a larger session, pharmacists paving, new paths, and there’s going to be many different pharmacists that are going to be speaking about nontraditional areas that they’ve gotten into, not just specifically for digital health, but any kind of like technology integration or entrepreneurship and things like that. So the conferences happening on October 2nd to fourth, it’s going to be a three day experience. And yeah, that’s pretty much like the kind of like general overview of the conference.

Michelle:
Well, I’m so excited. I signed up today to attend it and you know, I think nothing’s more awesome than a digital health conference being presented virtually. And just like you said, being able to interact with exhibitors and speakers and have the whole conference experience like right from my own desk and my own laptop, I think it’s extraordinary. So it’s kind of exciting really this year to have it as a virtual conference being what it is to just give that full, you know, feeling and that full effect to digital health and the whole like virtual tech experience. One of the other things I also wanted to kind of talk about is, you know the wearables, you know, I haven’t, I watch I have an aura ring and, you know, we’ve all been working at home. I mean, just talking for us as pharmacists and self care and, you know, going through the stresses of what we’re doing and trying to take care of patients and doing it through telehealth and doing it remotely, you know, you’ve been working at home, I’ve been working at home and doing tele-health since March and, you know, it’s a very stressful situation.

Michelle:
So how do we take care of ourselves? And, you know, I have found that I’ve done so much more like exercise and working out and self care during this time and utilizing the ring for sleep and my iWatch for activity and everything that it’s really made me like hone in on my heart rate on the type, the type of sleep I get the quality of sleep I eat, how foods, how just watching the news makes an impact, things like that. And I mean, where do you see, see this going on? I just know how it’s work for me personally and how we can take this and translate it into monitoring our patients like remotely through a lot of these digital devices.

Tony:
Yeah, definitely. I do really agree with like, you know, you don’t really know this, how involved these things are until you use it yourself. And for me too, like ever since using the wearables, I’ve been more aware of my own health and the thing about wearables and other tools like that, where the patient is using it or to consumers using it. These tools are a way to get the consumers or patients to be engaged in their own health. And I think that’s a big, big part of it is it’s hard to engage individuals in their own health, but having these tools track and having these tools kind of be that visual aid for them on these dashboards and things like that, that they look at. It’s, it’s a great way for them to now be aware of how, you know, everything is going on in their life can affect their health.

Tony:
And that’s one of the big things about, you know, consumer health informatics and wearable technology and things like that. Like, like what you said, and then there’s also fitness trackers. And I think Amazon just started releasing something. I forgot the name of it, but it does track your fitness, but in a different way than what the traditional fitness trackers does, it looks at like an at week intervals and it gives you like an overall score that could be positive or negative. So it was like a different way of like doing that. And then, you know, other things too, like there’s gamification of a healthcare as well. Like, you know, even Nintendo got into it by releasing the ring fit, which is like forward and 10 they’ll switch where, you know, you use it to play video games, but at the same time, it’s an exercise tool.

Tony:
Now you’re gamifying and having scores to achieve through, you know, your video game playing, but it’s also for your health. So, you know, things like that, it’s just really interesting. And I guess one of the questions too, is like, where does this a pharmacist kind of fall into this? And I would say community pharmacists are extremely important in this because when consumers or patients are looking to learn more about these devices, who’s going to be the person that they’re going to be talking to. It’s most likely going to be the local pharmacy they’re going to be going to the pharmacist. They’re the most accessible healthcare professionals. So they’re going to be asking pharmacists about these tools and like where to learn more, what are these tools? How can this be helpful for them? So I think it’s very important for pharmacists to understand and see where these technologies are going so that they can be kind of like that guide for the patient when the patient comes to them for those questions.

Michelle:
Oh, absolutely. And you know, when, when patients are utilizing these tools and, you know, then pulling in the medication management or chronic care management for that patient, getting the patient engaged when they can see all the steps that they’ve walked in the day or see how much they’ve snipped, see her, you know, what their heart rate is and all these things, I know the new Apple watch is coming out with some new features and things. I mean, it’s kind of extraordinary, like the steps to which they’re taking you, these wearables and the pharmacist, you’re absolutely right. It’s the one healthcare provider that people don’t realize how valuable we are to be able to help them with all this. And I think with patients getting invested in actually like seeing something tangible happen, not like, Oh, go and see for eight hours. You don’t know what that means or go and take a walk. You don’t know what that means, but you know, you get competitive and look like, you know what? I didn’t walk 10,000 steps yesterday. I need to do it again today. And that’s how we’re going to get a, like a healthier wealthier society.

Tony:
Yeah, definitely. I do agree you allow that. And it’s, it’s just like, it’s going to take some time, but it is happening. And that’s why it’s important that, you know, this conference is like, I’m pretty happy about like how this conference exists and it is it’s goal is to have pharmacists and pharmacy professionals just be more educated about the, the entire process.

Michelle:
No, absolutely. Absolutely. is there anything else that you think the listeners should know either about the conference or informatics? So did you want me to tell them a little bit about your pharmacy it and Nico cost and the CPHI podcast? Just so they have a little bit of a sense of what that is?

Tony:
Oh yeah, sure. So for the OCPA podcast, so I am a board member and a previous president of the orange County pharmacist’s association. And during my time, I was always wondering like, how can we provide more value for our, our members? And one of them is to provide a sense of like who the pharmacist in the community are. And that’s what really the OCPA podcast is about. It is to highlight pharmacists in the orange County or LA community, and also to kind of share what they’re doing and provide advice for anyone who’s interested in those fields. So OCP has podcast is primarily focused on interviewing different pharmacists and even highlighting pharmacy students and just talking about their journeys and really focusing on them and sharing their journey so that others who are listening in learn a bit more about, you know, what it takes to get to where they are and what kind of steps they can kind of start with to get there.

Tony:
And then it’s also a way to provide networking too, where we always have everyone on the podcast, provide their contact information in case anyone who’s listening in is interested. And it’s really interesting. We actually had some reach that was going to other States as well. Cause you know, podcasts are available online. Anyone can listen to it. So we’ve actually had some of our guests be contacted by people from out of state about learning more about things like veterinary pharmacy and things like that. So, so that’s yeah, so that’s, that was a really fun to do. And then my pharmacy, it and me podcasts is something I started because when I was a student, there weren’t any kind of centralized area or resource for pharmacy informatics. And one of the things is that I always love podcasts. So I wanted to start a podcast where, you know, I can share all that information that I’ve been able to learn over time.

Tony:
And even in my current roles with people who are listening in, and the other thing too, is that students usually ask me about, you know, what do I do in my job? And as I mentioned to you earlier, it’s not a very easy question to answer. There’s just so many different things. So I also refer them to the podcast as a way to kind of allow them to just choose what they want to listen to about what pharmacy informatics is. And then the last part, I’m actually two more things on the podcast is I try to keep myself updated with news by forcing myself to go over to a healthcare it news so that I can present it on the podcast every week or two. And then the final thing on the podcast I’m really, really excited about every single time is that I interview an informatics or technology pharmacist or pharmacy technician on the podcast because a role of informatics pharmacist can differ so much from one person to the next, because the field is still fairly new and the responsibilities are still growing. And then there’s also subspecialties under pharmacy informatics. So it’s just really interesting for me to like, learn more about what other people are doing and then at the same time, sharing that with the listeners.

Michelle:
Thank you so much. That’s, that’s amazing. So all you listeners out there, you can now subscribe to both these new podcasts if you’re not doing that already. And again, I just wanted to remind all of you that coming up on October 2nd through fourth is the digital health conference hosted by cha the link to register for the conference is down below in the show notes. So go ahead and register and Tony and I, we hope to see a lot of you virtually and connect with you virtually during the conference coming up on October 2nd through fourth. So Tony, thanks so much for being on the show. And before we end, how can our listeners get in touch with you if, if they want to get more information? So the best way that they can reach me on my LinkedIn or by email. So my LinkedIn is just my name me now, and for my email is going to be Tony dot Dow dot pharm D gmail.com. Perfect. Well, thank you so much for being on the show and everybody out there we’ll, we’ll see you next time. And remember you are the change.

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