The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Pharmacy Practice


In today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, technological advancements have become indispensable tools for improving patient care and optimizing processes. One such groundbreaking innovation that holds immense promise for pharmacy practice is artificial intelligence (AI). AI is revolutionizing the way pharmacy professionals work, enabling them to enhance medication management, and improve patient outcomes. This blog post explores the remarkable applications of AI in pharmacy practice, shedding light on its potential to transform the industry.

Medication Management

AI-driven systems are reshaping medication management by offering efficient solutions to complex tasks, such as drug interactions, dosage optimization, and adverse drug event prevention. AI algorithms can analyze vast volumes of patient data, including medical histories, laboratory results, and genetic information, to predict potential drug interactions or identify personalized medication regimens. By automating these processes, pharmacists can make informed decisions and provide patients with tailored treatment plans, minimizing the risk of adverse drug reactions and maximizing therapeutic effectiveness.

Medication Error Reduction

Medication errors pose significant risks to patient safety and can lead to severe consequences. AI-powered technologies have the potential to drastically reduce such errors by implementing automated systems for prescription verification and dispensing. Intelligent computer algorithms can flag potential errors in prescriptions, ensuring proper dosing, drug compatibility, and contraindications. These AI systems act as a safety net, preventing errors from reaching patients and providing pharmacy professionals with real-time alerts and recommendations.

Patient Counseling and Education

Pharmacy professionals play a vital role in educating patients about their medications and medical devices. AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots are transforming patient counselling by providing accurate and personalized information, answering medication-related queries, and offering reminders for medication intake. These AI systems can be accessible via smartphones or other devices, enabling patients to receive guidance and support in real-time, event outside traditional pharmacy hours. By enhancing patient education and engagement, AI facilitates better medication adherence and improved health outcomes.

What if I told you that up to this point, this post was generated by an AI chatbot?

If your reaction is anything like mine when I used an AI chatbot for the first time, you’re probably feeling astonished. I am now one of the over 100 million users globally that has taken advantage of the first publicly available AI tool. My experiences have been exploratory only – I’ve been inputting questions just to see what the output will be. In doing so, I find myself more aware of where I’m seeing AI in both my personal and professional life and thinking more about potential AI applications.

Pharmacy has done a pretty good job of leveraging technology and automation to improve workflow efficiencies, accuracy, and safety. Robotics – machines that carry out repetitive tasks – like medication packaging, are becoming more popular. Distinct from robotics, AI refers to the exhibition of human-like behaviors or intelligence by a computer or machine. Beyond the applications for AI identified by the chatbot, I’ve seen AI being used in inventory management and analytics for drug diversion monitoring, for example.

While AI has the potential to revolutionize pharmacy practice it must be used ethically and responsibly. AI algorithms aren’t perfect and automation bias and complacency can result in misuse and errors. Appropriate use of AI in pharmacy involves the combination of human knowledge, and resources along with the artificial intelligence.

As AI continues to evolve and new applications emerge, staying abreast of changes through continuing education will become increasingly vital for pharmacy technicians. Are you seeing AI used in your practice? Share your comments below.

About the author: Since receiving her pharmacy technician diploma in 1998, Teresa Hennessey has practiced in front-line and leadership roles in both community and hospital pharmacies. Teresa is dedicated to helping pharmacy technician practice evolve through knowledge sharing and enabling opportunities for professional growth. 

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