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Interoperability is key to successful digital health — FIP

By Irish Pharmacist - 28th Sep 2021

Female surgeon typing on digital tablet in hospital or surgery. She is wearing a dark blue nurse’s top and has her stethoscope around her neck. She is looking at her patients records on her digital tablet and sending emails.

Digital transformation of healthcare may allow for more inclusive, equitable and ethical use of healthcare resources, can improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, and is often more environmentally friendly, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) said in a new Statement of Policy released recently.
However, the full potential of digital and technology-enabled solutions cannot be achieved without the implementation of interoperability, which must be a prerequisite for any digital technology development, and this includes the use of internationally recognised interoperability standards, terminology and taxonomy, the Federation has stated. 
“We expect the impact of digital advances, such as predictive and personalised medicine, facial recognition, natural language processing and augmented reality, to gain even greater significance. We must be prepared to tackle the challenges to usher pharmacy into its digitally supported future,” said Ms Jacqueline Surugue, Chair, FIP Technology Forum.
Furthermore, in order to leverage the potential of digital health into a sustainable pharmacy ecosystem, the world needs a confident, capable, agile and digitally enabled pharmaceutical workforce, the Federation said. Its new policy statement makes a number of specific recommendations to academic institutions in particular, in addition to government and policy-makers, FIP member organisations and pharmacists in order to support digital transformation. Pharmacists, for example, are recommended to be a “driving force” in incorporating evidence-based digital technologies into daily practice and to facilitate patients’ digital literacy, said the FIP.

“With this policy statement, FIP is leading on preparations for the future so that the pharmacy profession is prepared to improve health and wellbeing through digital therapeutics. The statement also makes clear that FIP is committed to advocating the adoption of common digital standards, to promoting the importance of interoperability, and to supporting its member organisations to develop in this area,” Ms Surugue added.

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