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Pharmacy Informatics

pinkpharmd

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I hope everyone is doing well.

I have worked at a hospital for 10 years with 3 years with my current employer. With some down time, I have been researching about pharmacy informatics.

I would greatly appreciate any input from other if currently working in this field.

How does someone get involved in this track? Education? Job growth?

Thank you
 
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lord999

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Ah, this is the one field that is not a residency bound (for now). You basically have to have some distribution knowledge and a good deal of time with VistA to execute either an ADPAC or CAC substitution function. Having IT connections is a plus. In remote areas, they'll hire anyone. In the cities though, there's usually a candidate.

Also, The one in Portland is spoken for, sorry (not by me). You would not want to go there anyway as one of the very best ADPACs retired from there in anger with management, and the place has gone to pieces in his absence.

If you are senior enough though and have no particular regard for your career or health, you can also volunteer to be detailed to OEHRM and join those poor saps working on the new Cerner. You won't join the Pharmacy side, but they do need analysts and clinical workflow specialists especially if you are willing to relocate to the Pacific Northwest for a time. If you really want to risk yourself, sign up for DEMPS, take the hard tour somewhere, then translate that into a traveling appointment.
 

pinkpharmd

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The USA jobs on informatics are actually GS-14

Thanks lord999 for the information.

I heard that many times that VA loses great qualified employees because of management.

What is the status of CERNER? I am thinking that may never happen, we can’t even get updated to windows 10!
 

samven582

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Ah, this is the one field that is not a residency bound (for now). You basically have to have some distribution knowledge and a good deal of time with VistA to execute either an ADPAC or CAC substitution function. Having IT connections is a plus. In remote areas, they'll hire anyone. In the cities though, there's usually a candidate.

Also, The one in Portland is spoken for, sorry (not by me). You would not want to go there anyway as one of the very best ADPACs retired from there in anger with management, and the place has gone to pieces in his absence.

If you are senior enough though and have no particular regard for your career or health, you can also volunteer to be detailed to OEHRM and join those poor saps working on the new Cerner. You won't join the Pharmacy side, but they do need analysts and clinical workflow specialists especially if you are willing to relocate to the Pacific Northwest for a time. If you really want to risk yourself, sign up for DEMPS, take the hard tour somewhere, then translate that into a traveling appointment.
How do you get on the on cerner project?
 

pinkpharmd

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On the other side, patiently waiting for DHA to open some more informatics positions as well

I am guessing you have knowledge on analytics and informatics? Is there more growth in this field? Did you obtain a Master degree? I am kind of torn, not sure what the direction of the VA is and I want to keep myself more marketable.
 

Saiyo

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I am guessing you have knowledge on analytics and informatics? Is there more growth in this field? Did you obtain a Master degree? I am kind of torn, not sure what the direction of the VA is and I want to keep myself more marketable.

nah, but I work at a site that already uses Cerner; I don't really want to work for the VA since I've heard mixed things. If something opens up here I should hopefully be qualified.
 

pinkpharmd

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nah, but I work at a site that already uses Cerner; I don't really want to work for the VA since I've heard mixed things. If something opens up here I should hopefully be qualified.


I am not familiar with Cerner, all I know is that Cerner will replace the current system at the VA. I am not even sure if it will replace both CPRS and VISTA or just VISTA. In any case, I am fearful with the roll out of Cerner that many pharmacist that can retire will be retiring once the conversion takes place. Is this something that happened at your facility?
 
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deleted562805

I am not familiar with Cerner, all I know is that Cerner will replace the current system at the VA. I am not even sure if it will replace both CPRS and VISTA or just VISTA. In any case, I am fearful with the roll out of Cerner that many pharmacist that can retire will be retiring once the conversion takes place. Is this something that happened at your facility?
I heard Cerner is much more user friendly than VISTA
 
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TheBlaah

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I am not familiar with Cerner, all I know is that Cerner will replace the current system at the VA. I am not even sure if it will replace both CPRS and VISTA or just VISTA. In any case, I am fearful with the roll out of Cerner that many pharmacist that can retire will be retiring once the conversion takes place. Is this something that happened at your facility?

When my facility rolled out Cerner, every pharmacist we had that was at retirement age retired. Not a VA hospital though.
 

lord999

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When my facility rolled out Cerner, every pharmacist we had that was at retirement age retired. Not a VA hospital though.

And that happened with VistA/CPRS as well. Basically, every system transition is an excuse to get rid of people. Mayo had the same when they switched from their homegrown system to Epic.
 

lord999

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Unless it's a very rural station that they really don't have anyone else, then they usually promote from within. The ADPAC (VA term for operational informaticist) needs to have some practice background with the system but also the weird way that VA does things (its labor mapping, its drug dictionary and procurement, and its reporting) which is not conducive to a new hire.
 

lord999

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Does having a masters in informatics help? I am curious to hear if anyone has experience in this

I do, and it depends. If earned through the Fellowship (the NIH or VA ones in particular) or a Residency, yes. If not, it's hard.
 
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gwarm01

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That makes sense. My old pharmacy school colleague was touting the importance of a masters in informatics on his LinkedIn so I was curious on its merits. Thank you
Interesting. What was their argument for its importance? I'm approaching five years in the field without one. I would be interested in completing a masters for the right price (aka paid in full by my employer) since I am debt adverse. I wonder what benefit it provides? Maybe to broaden one's horizon beyond being an EHR analyst/device toucher?
 
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deleted562805

Interesting. What was their argument for its importance? I'm approaching five years in the field without one. I would be interested in completing a masters for the right price (aka paid in full by my employer) since I am debt adverse. I wonder what benefit it provides? Maybe to broaden one's horizon beyond being an EHR analyst/device toucher?
Had a question @gwarm01, given that anything non retail is at a credential war, if you had to do informatics in this present period, would you recommend residency or masters in health informatics? Which provides more job opportunities? Informatics residency or masters in health informatics
 

gwarm01

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Had a question @gwarm01, given that anything non retail is at a credential war, if you had to do informatics in this present period, would you recommend residency or masters in health informatics? Which provides more job opportunities? Informatics residency or masters in health informatics

If the comparison is a fresh PGY2 in informatics and a fresh grad with the masters, I would go for the residency trained pharmacist. If either candidate has solid inpatient work experience then that changes the equation. Solid inpatient experience and decent troubleshooting abilities can make you stand out, but it can be a challenge to get your foot in the door to prove yourself in the interview.

The vast majority of my colleagues have no residency but had several years of inpatient experience and some technical aptitude. The one PGY2 in informatics I know was hired by us directly after completing their program, so that was a pretty quick and direct path for a new grad.

Want to break into the field? Google "least desirable states" and start trolling the job boards for hospitals located there. Time was most pharmacists were too obsessed with being "clinical" to even consider these jobs so you could find positions lingering. I think word is spreading though so competition might be tighter now.
 
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casprph

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Interesting. What was their argument for its importance? I'm approaching five years in the field without one. I would be interested in completing a masters for the right price (aka paid in full by my employer) since I am debt adverse. I wonder what benefit it provides? Maybe to broaden one's horizon beyond being an EHR analyst/device toucher?

He didn’t specify, all he wrote was a generic “it’s really hard to fail with a master in healthcare informatics” statement which was why I was curious to how beneficial it really is to enter that field.
 

samven582

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Unless it's a very rural station that they really don't have anyone else, then they usually promote from within. The ADPAC (VA term for operational informaticist) needs to have some practice background with the system but also the weird way that VA does things (its labor mapping, its drug dictionary and procurement, and its reporting) which is not conducive to a new hire.
Our ADPAC is a pharmacy tech who doesn't know anything
 
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