The growing demand for pharmacy informatics technicians

As technology and automation continue to advance, pharmacies are in need of pharmacy technicians who specialize in informatics to help implement and troubleshoot innovations as they evolve. The problem? There is no defined, direct career path to becoming one. 

Pharmacy informatics technicians, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, provide "oversight and integrity of computer systems and software applications involved in pharmacy order entry, dispensing, compounding systems, automation, telehealth and digital and virtual care." 

In the last two decades, informatics has become a specialty that is more in demand but difficult to find. In 2022, the ASHP released a statement underscoring the need for interdisciplinary training for pharmacy technicians with data analytics. 

"ASHP believes that pharmacists have the unique knowledge, expertise and responsibility to assume a significant role in health informatics," the statement read. "Similarly, properly trained and qualified pharmacy technicians play a key supporting role in the field of informatics."

Still, professionals trained this way are hard to find, and even when they are found, pharmacy leaders say they wish they had more on staff.

"As technology has changed, the tasks for techs have had to grow," Shawn Boland, PharmD, a pharmacist and manager of clinical applications and electronic medical records at Meritus Health in Hagerstown, Md., said in a May 2 article on the ASHP website.  

Even with the ASHP's training program for these skills, the issue is "just getting enough candidates in to be able to meet the ever-growing needs of the workforce," Yanela Lozano, PharmD, pharmacy director for Lee Health in Fort Myers, Fla., said in the article.

These positions in hospitals are attractive options for pharmacist technicians who want advancement, the ASHP said in its statement.

Other skills the position requires that pharmacists say their teams have benefited from include predictive analysis, process improvement, budget expectations, cost containment, standardization, inventory control, governance and automation education and training.

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