I started working as a Pharmacy Technician in a 700-bed Level I Trauma center about 25 years ago. At the time, we had a large computer that sat in the middle of the Pharmacy, and when there were issues we hit the ‘Load’ button. Everyone would have to stop working and wait for the system to reset before any more work could occur.
The systems and technologies that are supported within Pharmacy have grown in both number and complexity. The early computer system at my hospital had one person who managed and supported it. In today’s hospital there are system administrators, Informatics specialists, and large IT departments.
The benefits of a Pharmacy IT system are often clear to the buyer, but not necessarily the other disciplines. This can create a challenge in garnering support from the areas outside of the Pharmacy. The IT, Network, and even training resources for these projects are often responsible for managing many projects across the organization.
Here are some tips to help move your project along in the process:
- Clearly define the benefits – the benefits should be monetary but should also identify the soft benefits to end users beyond Pharmacy.
- Know the scope and impact – the more clearly you understand the size and impact of the project, the better equipped you are to frame out the needs to others.
- Do not reinvent the wheel – Determine with your vendor what existing data sources or interfaces can be re-used to reduce the effort or size of your new project.
- Project management matters – the project success resides with the individual you place in charge within the Pharmacy. It may be beneficial to provide some light Project Management training for the project leadership.
- Rely on your vendor – the vendor is/should be viewed as the expert in many cases. The experience and knowledge of what other facilities have done to be successful should be leveraged as an asset to the project.
- Anticipate changes and roadblocks – there is rarely a project that follows the plan to the letter and is executed without a hitch. Be prepared for and react quickly to changes.
A well-planned, well-organized IT project can help the hospital realize the benefits of your investment more quickly. In evaluating your potential partners for Pharmacy IT purchases, be sure to understand their typical project planning approach and the impact the project will have on resources inside and outside of the Pharmacy.
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