ASHP: What pharmacy leaders should know heading into 2024

More than three-fourths of hospital pharmacy leaders think health systems will cut service lines because of the rising cost and complexity of new drugs, according to a report released Dec. 4.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and its foundation published the 12th annual forecast to inform hospital pharmacy leaders on trends to watch in 2024. It focuses on six topics: ultra-high-cost drugs and innovations, workforce concerns, mental health and substance use disorders, healthcare equity, public health emergencies because of climate change, and artificial intelligence. 

Throughout 2023, the ASHP surveyed 250 health system pharmacy leaders across the U.S. about their preparedness for the next five years. The foundation asked, "If the following occurs by the year 2028, how prepared is your health system, pharmacy department, or staff to respond?"

Most responses had a normal bell curve outcome, with most respondents saying they're somewhat unprepared or somewhat prepared, except for three prompts:

1. "As a result of the nursing shortage, 25% of health systems will have pharmacy personnel assume responsibility for medication administration." Three in 4 respondents said they're very unprepared or somewhat unprepared if this happens, and 25% said they're somewhat or fully prepared.

2. "The 340B program will be reduced to the extent that hospitals no longer participate because the effort invested is not worth the services provided." Sixty-eight percent said they're unprepared, and 32% said they're prepared. 

3. "State boards of pharmacy will develop regulations allowing the use of artificial intelligence or other technology in place of pharmacist order review and verification." Thirty-one percent said they're very unprepared, 36% are somewhat unprepared, 28% are somewhat prepared and 5% are prepared.

Health system pharmacy leaders said these three scenarios were the least likely to happen, though. The largest divide between preparation and probability was related to having the bandwidth for clinical decision support algorithms. 

Eighty-six percent of the health system pharmacy executives said it's likely EHR data will be integrated with clinical decision support systems to automate drug dosing adjustments, but only 59% percent said they would be ready for this change.

Read the full report here.

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