What Is a Pharmacy Information Systems (PIS)? - Definition & Uses

Instructor: Alexandra Unfried

Alexandra earned her master's degree in nursing education and is currently a hospital supervisor/administrator.

A pharmacy information system is used in inpatient and outpatient settings. This lesson will discuss what a pharmacy information system does and how it is used to track medication information, inventory, and various reports.

Pharmacy Information System

Josh is the head pharmacist at Chantilly Hospital. He is orienting his new pharmacist, Julie, to their pharmacy information system. Josh is making sure to explain the differences between inpatient and outpatient systems since Julie previously worked in an outpatient pharmacy.

A pharmacy information system (PIS) is a system that has many different functions in order to maintain the supply and organization of drugs. It can be a separate system for pharmacy usage only, or it can be coordinated with an inpatient hospital computer physician order entry (CPOE) system. A PIS paired with a CPOE allows for an easier transfer of information.

A PIS is used to reduce medication errors, increase patient safety, report drug usage, and track costs. Inpatient pharmacy information systems are used in the hospital setting while outpatient pharmacy information systems are used in home settings for discharged patients, clinics, long-term care facilities, and home health care. Most of the uses and capabilities of the PIS are similar for inpatient and outpatient settings. However, the outpatient PIS has a stronger emphasis on medication labeling, drug warnings, and instructions for administration.

Pharmacy Information System Necessities

Josh tells Julie that a PIS has many different uses that are helpful for multiple departments in a medical organization. He explains each necessary part of the PIS and the ways in which the pharmacist uses it.

  • A user interface is beneficial to all departments and allows the pharmacist to organize and select the orders to place in a patient profile, work on multiple orders at one time, and show detailed patient profiles.
  • Security is also important. With so many departments having some type of access to the connected computer system, only certain departments need access to certain parts of the system.
  • A data retention plan is also helpful in a PIS so that records are kept for a year or longer to help pharmacists and physicians understand the cost and usage of drugs. Pharmacists can use patient records to keep track of clinical screenings, what medications they are on, and what recommendations they may need regarding health care.

Patient records are saved for data retention
Patient records are saved for data retention

Functions of a Pharmacy Information System

a PIS has many different functions. Josh tells Julie about each one and explains how they impact the pharmacist.

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