Identify Practice Areas for Urgent Technological Intervention, Expert Tasks Hospital Pharmacists

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-As AHAPN holds 22nd Annual National Scientific Conference in Ilorin

A Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, Patrick O. Erah, has accentuated the need for members of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) to examine critical areas of their practice that require technological inputs, in order to remove impediments to good patient outcomes and better healthcare delivery.

Prof. Erah, from the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, University of Benin, Benin City, underscored the effective usage of digital applications in resolving perennial challenges in the hospital setting, arguing that it is not good enough to acquire technological devices at exorbitant prices, without leveraging them for an improved healthcare system.

PSN President, Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa (right) presenting an award plaque to the keynote speaker, Prof. Patrick O. Erah, for a well delivered address. He is flanked by the immediate past national chairman, AHAPN, Dr Kingsley Amibor, and others.

Presenting his keynote address at the 22nd Annual National Scientific Conference of the AHAPN, held at the De-Peace Hotel & Suites, Tanke, Ilorin, from 2 to 6 August, 2021, the clinician pinpointed difficult areas of Pharmacy practice that need technological intervention to include: chaotic drug distribution system; taking control of pharmacy practice; improving impact of pharmacists in patient care; and follow-up of patients medications. He urged the participants to add to the list, saying it is a step forward in securing solutions to the challenges.

The erudite scholar also extended the call to deploy technologies in resolving pharmaceutical challenges to the leaderships of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), charging them to embark on the development of a national database for Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

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He said this will ease the usual problem of missing files and records in the hospital, adding that the process should be followed by decision-support systems to improve the screening of prescriptions and select patients suitable for pharmaceutical care interventions.

According to him, “Technological innovations have the potential to improve the practice of Pharmacy, as well as the effectiveness, safety and efficiency of healthcare. New technologies have allowed pharmacists to have more time work with other health professionals .This helps to improve operational, compliance, clinical, regulatory, and financial performances. In some developed countries, such as the USA and the UK, close to 100 per cent of hospitals and community pharmacies have access to patients’ care records.

“Digital health technology is transforming every aspect of pharmacy practice, whether it deploys robotics to fill prescriptions, uses analytics to track medication data, or offers access to digital therapy. Pharmacists in hospitals and retail settings are using recently developed technologies to prevent adverse drug effects, monitor the use of antibiotics, modify unhealthy behavior, and promote medication adherence. Not only can technology make a pharmacist’s day more efficient by automating repetitive tasks, but new digital health products are providing more insight into data and the opportunity for real-time patient interaction.

“With AI, serialisation of medicines can cut off non-professional practice, while electronic dispensing records and Apps can easily address follow-up of patients.”

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Earlier in his address at the event, AHAPN National Chairman, Dr Kingsley Amibor, appreciated all members for their cooperation from the inception of his tenure, which was about to be over. He also went down memory lane, to recap his 8-point agenda of rebranding and improving pharmacy practice in the hospital settings, which, he said, had all been achieved.

Amibor listed  some of  his achievements to include approval of consultancy cadre for pharmacists; production of a new set of specialised pharmacists by the West African Postgraduate  College of Pharmacists (WAPCP); production of the maiden directory of AHAPN members; introduction of annual pharmaceutical care service competition; approval obtained from the Federal Ministry of Health for all federal health institutions to commence compounding and manufacturing units in all pharmacy departments; extension of retirement age of civil servants in the health sector from 60 to 65, and that of health from 65 to 70; as well as expediting of action by the FMoH on DRF, and several others.

The outgoing AHAPN leader further urged the incoming national chairman to raise the bar digitally from where he would be stopping, noting that “we are in a technological age, and it will best for all members to fly on the wings of technology, for the advancement of the association. I am using this opportunity to challenge our members to embrace technology in our practice, in line with global practices.”

Amibor also commended the efforts of AHAPN members in bracing up to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that although the disease claimed 12 members of the association, others took the challenge, as they produced millions of doses of hand sanitizers, disinfectants and detergents for use by the hospital community as part of preventive measures to mitigate the spread of the infection.

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President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, also charged the pharmacists on living up to the expectations of their roles in the hospital.

He emphasised the need for them to be more caring and compassionate, saying patients expect solution to their problems.

“Before I knew a community pharmacist, an industrial pharmacist and pharmacists in the academia, I had known a hospital pharmacist, because he is the window of hope to patients. You occupy a very unique positon in the society; therefore the onus is on you to justify your position to the world,” he charged.

The occasion witnessed a massive turnout of dignitaries who graced the ceremony, among whom were the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq,  ably represented by Dr Abukakah  Ayinla; PSN President,  Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa; Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye;  Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Dr NAE Mohammed; Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu- Gambari, ably represented by Alhaji Aliyu Balogun Gambari;  Commissioner for Health, Kwara State, Raji Razaq, ably represented  by  Dr Abukakah  Ayinla; AHAPN National Chairman, Dr Kingsley Amibor,  and others.

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