Technology Vendor Selection

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Technology impacts the way pharmacists deliver care. It is not a matter of “whether technology” but rather “which technology” along with where, when, and at what cost. Among the more important responsibilities of a pharmacy managers is to select the best technological intervention from either of several vendors and products. The manager will have to consider a number of aspects such as vendor reputation, performance of other products by that vendor, the cost of the product, the value of the product after it is no longer in use, its ability to be integrated into other aspects of the business (interface), any warranties/guarantees associated with the product, customer support/service from the vendor to accompany the product, the value of that product, whether it can replace other related products/services being utilized, and the impact that use of the product will have on care delivery, patients, and the employees using it.

An increasingly common technology in medication use and delivery systems is computerized physician order entry (CPOE), which allows the prescriber to issue orders electronically, thereby surpassing a number of steps and potentially decreasing errors, though the latter is not always the case if the CPOE system is not user-friendly and creates confusion or facilitates wrong drug/dose selection. Rabiei conducted an evaluation of 5 different CPOE systems.1 They evaluated them on 4 different criteria: patient safety (eg, mandating prescriber to indicate duration of treatment, enabling prescription invalidation), prescription support (eg, tracking errors, displaying adverse drug events), decision support (eg, allergy alerts, lab test results), and user-friendliness (ease of use, integration with other systems). The systems overall were deemed user-friendly but lacked in decision support, in general. The researchers identified the strengths and limitations with each of the 5 systems.

Pharmacy managers should be actively involved in evaluating technologies that will impact the medication distribution and use processes. As done in the study cited here, the manager should take a comprehensive evaluation of the products/services from different vendors to include various aspects of their performance and have input from experts, other pharmacy managers, and from the end-users within their own pharmacy organization.

Additional information about Managing Medication Use Process supporting Technologies and Automation can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1Rabiei R, Moghaddasi H, Asadi F, Heydari M. Evaluation of computerized provider order entry systems: assessing the usability of systems for electronic prescription. Electron Physician. 2018;10:7196-7204.

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Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California

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Shane Desselle 4 months ago

Have you experienced technologies that are life-savers and others that actually create more work and angst among employees, or thst which always malfunction? Evaluating technologies and their vendors/manufacturers is a critical job undertaken by pharmacy managers?