Belmont University College of Pharmacy Healthcare Informatics Team Begins Collaboration with National Organizations to Provide Health Informatic Services
Belmont University College of Pharmacy provides its students with the opportunity to pursue Healthcare Informatics as a concentration. Dr. Anthony Blash, Pharm.D., BCompSc., CPHIMS, Associate Professor and lecturer in the College of Pharmacy’s Healthcare Informatics concentration has created a sequence of five courses and a one-month intensive experiential rotation to prepare Belmont’s student pharmacists to become future leaders in healthcare informatics. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Belmont University and the Dispensary of Hope, Dr. Blash’s rotation students will have the opportunity to learn more about the role pharmacy healthcare informatics can play in national medication distribution. Dr. Hillary Blackburn, Director of Pharmaceutical Services with the Dispensary of Hope says “we look to our academic partners, such as Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy, for support on clinical initiatives and now this new partnership to assist in leveraging their informatics expertise.”
As a HIMSS Approved Education Partner, Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy is the only pharmacy school in the world with a healthcare informatics concentration leading to an internationally recognized certification in healthcare informatics, which may be obtained before experiential rotations, residency inquiries and job searches begin. “If your interests lie in healthcare and informatics, our program stands apart. Our students have the opportunity to develop an impressive project portfolio during their time at Belmont, working on projects such as the creation of smart pump clinical decision support, live EHR implementations, becoming Data Analysts while exploring Big Data and Analytics with Microsoft SQL and creating Artificial Intelligence Software for Amazon Alexa.” said Dr. Blash.
The Dispensary of Hope is a leading national charity drug distributor. The Dispensary of Hope serves it mission by connecting the generosity of medication manufacturers with US clinics and pharmacies, supplying dignified and consistent access to donated medications, for free, to low income, uninsured patients. When providing access to medication for patients, the Dispensary of Hope impacts the Triple Aim of healthcare by decreasing cost of care per capita for populations, improving patient satisfaction with their care, and improving population health.
During the month of June, Austin Simmons was the first student to begin this new collaborative effort between Belmont and Dispensary of Hope. “This is an incredible opportunity to work with the Dispensary of Hope and provide health informatics services to a nationally recognized pharmaceutical distributor” said Austin. “My plan to make an impact was to evaluate the current metrics the Dispensary of Hope uses to understand how well a dispensing site was performing. This information could be calculated, analyzed, and viewed in a variety of ways with the use of software such as Power BI.” By identifying what metrics are used to determine growth in pharmacies across the nation, Austin found ways to analyze the information and presented his findings to the team at the Dispensary of Hope. Austin said “Another project I had the pleasure of working on was about making inferences with the current data. I analyzed information that would determine whether the current supply of psych drugs would be enough to sustain the number of mental health dispensing sites and if there would be enough to possibly add more of these sites.” The partnership signals the start of something new for both sites as the Dispensary of Hope turned to healthcare informatic students to support their data analytical needs while Belmont University College of Pharmacy students were able to learn how to address them.
Dr. Blash and his students are looking to come up with solutions for companies with public health, analytical, and technical problems by working on projects during their one-month rotations. These services can be expensive. What they are providing will not cost the organization a dime, but they would like for them to simply reach out via email for future collaboration opportunities. Dr. Blash and his students look forward to this experience and others as they expand to more sites.
To find out more about collaborating with Belmont, please contact Dr. Blash at Anthony.Blash@belmont.edu. To learn more about what the Dispensary of Hope offers or to see how you can help join their national mission to provide medication access to the vulnerable, visit their website at https://www.dispensaryofhope.org/.