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Practice Transformation

By 2030, pharmacists will likely have little to do with dispensing and much more to do with clinical outcomes. One implication of this transformation is that pharmacists will need to take a very involved pharmacogenomics role with patients and providers, says Jaclyn Boyle, Pharm.D., MS, PhD, associate professor of pharmacy practice at Northeast Ohio Medical University. “Pharmacogenomics data can help inform decisions about whether a patient should try a medication, stay on it, whether a given med is going to either positively or negatively impact the patient,” she tells Drug Topics. (Drug Topics)
A group of pharmacy organizations—that includes the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American Pharmacists Association—released policy recommendations addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. 1.) Allow pharmacists to order, collect specimens, conduct and interpret tests and—when appropriate—initiate treatment for infectious diseases and expand?immunization authority to include all FDA-approved vaccines. 2.) Allow pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with valid licenses to operate across state lines, including via telehealth. 3.) Authorize pharmacists to conduct therapeutic interchange and substitution without physician authorization when product shortages arise. 4.) Cover services delivered by pharmacists if it is within scope of practice and covered for other health care providers. (Pharmacy Times)

Evidence & Innovation

Telemedicine is one way to keep health care workers and patients safe during this pandemic, but many providers are new to the approach. So the American Medical Association has developed a guide to help physicians and practices expedite implementation of telemedicine. The guide also touches on issues related to policy, coding and payment. (AMA guide)
WCG has created a COVID-19 Clinical Trial Tracker to monitor the progress of the virus and of research into a treatment and/or vaccine. It also provides links to information about pausing, stopping or remotely running non-coronavirus trials. (Covid-19 dashboardROI-NJ)

Policy Solutions

The Health IT Advisory Committee is creating a coronavirus task force to tackle privacy and interoperability issues that are impeding frontline clinicians as they combat the growing outbreak. The task force wants to hear from front-line providers, says National Coordinator for Health IT Donald Rucker, MD. “The information that we get is filtered here in D.C., and it’s filtered through commercial interests and commercial spins. It’s helpful to hear directly from folks on the front lines. […] [I]t could serve as an early warning system about things coming up; that’s what is needed.” (FierceHealthcare)
The $2 trillion CARES Act stimulus bill doesn’t do enough vis-à-vis pharmacists, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. For example, it should expand pharmacists’ ability to use telemedicine to connect with patients, Tom Kraus, VP of government relations, told Pharmacy Times. In addition, although some states have expanded pharmacists’ ability to treat patients during the pandemic, more needs to be done at the federal level. (Pharmacy Times)
Pennsylvania is bolstering its health care workforce with temporary license waivers for health care workers. It’s allowing temporary expedited licensure for certain pharmacy practitioners and pharmacies. The state is also lifting the requirement that certified registered nurse practitioners practice in a specialty. (announcementinformation about waivers)

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