AI Gives Pharmacists More Time for Patient Care


The potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in the pharmacy are vast and diverse. Although the technology is still developing, early signs suggest that AI could revolutionize many aspects of the pharmacy sector, from day-to-day operations to medication management to patient care. After all, by automating routine tasks and streamlining workflows, AI allows pharmacists to spend more time on direct patient care.

“Pharmacists are relied on to provide clinical expertise and be available for in-person consultation any time someone comes into a pharmacy,” said Leslie Lotano-Saba, RPh, vice president of pharmacy solutions at global management and technology consulting firm AArete. “Like other mid-level practices challenged with heavy workloads, office staffing issues and high consumer demand, pharmacies need to leverage AI tools to remove administrative and non-clinical tasks from pharmacists. This allows them to focus on patient care and higher-level complex problem solving.”

Plus, by automating routine tasks such as inventory management, data entry, and basic customer inquiries, AI can free up pharmacists to focus on patient care services. It could be used to help patients understand their medications better, provide personalized advice based on a patient’s unique health profile, or conduct follow-ups to ensure medication adherence. Thus, AI can help pharmacists do more by managing repetitive tasks and providing tools for better patient engagement.

It can also assist in patient medication counseling, providing pharmacists with a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s medication regimen, potential side effects, and interactions.

Hayley Burgess, PharmD, chief clinical officer at EHR clinical surveillance company VigiLanz, noted allowing AI to manage complex data analysis, monitor medication safety, and support medication management opportunities is essential for the future of pharmacy services.

“By handling repetitive and time-consuming tasks, AI frees up pharmacists to focus on providing personalized patient care, consultation, and education—ultimately enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery and population health,” she said. “From a practical perspective, smart technology can be incorporated today to expedite workflows and manage prioritization of tasks. We need community pharmacy leaders and vendors to align with thoughtful collaboration to make this a reality.”

Gretchen Brummel, PharmD, BCPS, host of the pharmacy podcast VerifiedRx, noted by streamlining what they are already doing, pharmacists will have more time to deal with their customers and patients.

“Rather than reviewing 500 patient charts manually for inclusion in a clinical program, AI can assist in identifying eligible patients for a program saving time and effort on the part of the pharmacist,” she said. “There is potential to use AI for basic patient education activities as well as freeing the pharmacist up for more complex drug therapy-related problems.”

For independent pharmacies that manage front-end sales, in addition to the prescription counter, AI can support inventory management and product pricing, incorporating competitive information, again providing extra time for pharmacists to concentrate on patient care.

Jo Varshney, CEO of VeriSIM Life, a healthcare technology company that has developed an AI-driven bio-simulation platform that enables the pharmaceutical industry with the technology to accelerate and improve outcomes, noted AI will 100 percent enable pharmacists to spend more time on patient care.

“AI can help pharmacists spend less time measuring and inspecting pills, less time cross referencing databases and drug literature, and potentially less time consulting with physicians— imagine clinicians talking to a virtual pharmacist powered by AI like ChatGPT, instead of calling a pharmacist,” she said. “And it couldn’t have come at a better time, because AI will also dramatically increase the complexity of the pharmaceutical landscape as more new and specialized drugs become more rapidly available.”

AI tools empower pharmacists by automating repetitive tasks, providing access to real-time critical information, and facilitating data-driven decision-making. This allows pharmacists to spend more time on direct patient interactions, counseling, medication therapy management, and other clinical services that require their expertise and ultimately enhances the level of care provided to patients.

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