The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 increased the use of technology, especially in the healthcare sector, which experienced enormous pressures to provide for patients’ health needs. Due to the outbreak measures such as physical distancing or self-isolation, many patient consultations or follow-ups were not done and thus health care providers and patients sought alternative approaches to continue the care. For these reasons, the acceptance and adaptability of digital health technologies by healthcare providers and patients increased. In clinical pharmacy practice, there are several studies about the use of various digital health technologies to provide pharmaceutical care, health education, chronic disease management, and medication review. Telemedicine, telepharmacy, artificial intelligence, mobile and wearable health technologies and electronic health records are the common examples used as digital health tools in clinical pharmacy practice. Digital health tools play an important role in integrated care, especially in managing chronic diseases, delivering precision medicine and increasing medication adherence for patients. They also overcome issues by providing more accessible, standardized, relevant, timely, and affordable medical education and training for healthcare providers. However, using digital health tools requires knowledge, skills, competency and confidence. To use the full potential of digital health, students and practitioners must gain the necessary knowledge and skills. Therefore, pharmacy schools either developed new programs or integrated the topics into the existing courses to teach digital health to pharmacy students. Online pharmacies, mobile applications and telemedicine are the most common examples thought of as digital health tools in clinical pharmacy education. Educational programs are heterogeneous, similar to the applied digital health tools in practice. There is no standardized approach to teaching digital health in terms of program content and educators as well as to implementing digital health programs in terms of tools and applications in practice. Besides challenges to implementing digital health in clinical practice and teaching in pharmacy education, the clinical pharmacies can no longer wait or slow down to use digital health because of its greater benefits.
Audience Take Away Notes:
At the end of this presentation, audiences will
- Define what digital health is
- What the common digital health tools used in clinical pharmacy practice are and how they are being used
- How pharmacy schools teach digital health
- List the limitations and issues to use and educate digital health