Digital Health Corner Editor: Parisa Vatanka, PharmD, CTTS
There continues to be an exponential rise in health and technology innovation in which a shared, common framework of language and best practices is essential to support collaboration among the range of stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem.
In 2020, the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe) led their first Tour of Duty, convening inter-industry stakeholders from clinical, technology, and nonprofit sectors of government and academia to develop and launch The Digital Clinical Measures Playbook (known as The Playbook). This resource serves as the foundational guide for remote monitoring and applying digital clinical measures in clinical research, patient care, and public health. The second DiMe Tour of Duty, dedicated to driving adoption of The Playbook, culminated on April 30, 2021 with the launch of a reimagined version of The Playbook and over 100 action-oriented resources to support developing and deploying digital clinical measures. Among the many new resources is the Micro-Playbook for Pharmacists with information, case studies, and tips most applicable to practicing pharmacists – and a series of seven “learnlets” on the fundamentals of digital clinical measures.
The Playbook focuses on connected sensor products used by patients outside of a clinic, such as wearables and/or internet of medical things (IoMT) products. As defined in The Playbook, digital clinical measures are health outcomes or physiological characteristics of an individual’s health, wellness, and/or condition that are collected digitally with a sensor. In pharmacy practice, there is tremendous opportunity to apply data from connected sensor products for medication optimization and chronic condition management. Digital tools enable real-time tracking of patients’ medication therapy and health status, thereby enhancing the quality of information available to pharmacists (continuous rather than episodic data) and making care more accessible and patient-centered.
This “how-to” guide is meant to advance the “safe, effective, ethical, and equitable use of digital clinical measures to improve lives”. In the stepwise approach, you begin with considering the measurement (“What do you want to measure? Why?”), then the technology (“What are the right tools for the job?”), and finally operations (“What’s needed to deploy remotely and at scale?”).1
As a participant in the latest DiMe Tour of Duty, representing the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the voice/perspective of pharmacists, I had the opportunity to explore and share opportunities for pharmacists to deploy digital clinical measures for medication optimization. The Micro-Playbook for Pharmacists highlights several pharmacist-trailblazers, in a case study format, who are currently applying connected sensor products in routine care. These pharmacists are implementing technology to manage, monitor, and coach patients remotely for a range of conditions such as asthma/COPD and congestive heart failure. Each case study poses questions for consideration on how remote patient monitoring may be leveraged to allow interventions to be more personalized and proactive, rather than reactive.
Pharmacist participation in interprofessional endeavors, such as the DiMe Tour of Duty, is important and valuable – it is when we engage the full capabilities of all health care providers through interprofessional collaboration that we see reduction in medical errors, improved patient experience, and improved quality and outcomes – ultimately reducing costs. I encourage pharmacists to take a leading role in applying digital clinical measures in routine care.
- “The Digital Clinical Measures Playbook”. Digital Medicine Society. Accessed May 3, 2021. https://playbook.dimesociety.org/
Parisa “Risa” Vatanka, PharmD, CTTS is a thought leader and strategic thinker with 27+ years of experience creating novel health care delivery solutions from concept to marketplace. She has a proven record of alliance building and is a key contributor and facilitator, with keen ability to bridge efforts among diverse internal and external cross-functional groups. Risa’s background includes heading high-visibility initiatives implemented nationwide and globally. She is currently championing health care delivery optimization through digital health integration.
Risa is Senior Director of Corporate Alliances at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). She holds a faculty appointment at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy and volunteers as a tobacco treatment specialist at the UCSF Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center. Risa is Founder and Chair of DHX (digital health conference) hosted by the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) and Editor of the Digital Health Corner monthly newsletter. Risa is also Founder and Chair of DigitalHealth.Rx (digital health summit) hosted by APhA. She was an appointed member of the Digital Medicine Society’s (DiMe) Tour of Duty on driving adoption of The Digital Clinical Measures Playbook and led development of the Micro-Playbook for Pharmacists.
Risa is a graduate of the University of Kansas, School of Pharmacy. Her professional training includes completing a Post-Graduate Year 1 (PGY1) Pharmacy Practice Residency at UCSF, a PGY2 Administrative Pharmacy Residency at Stanford University, and two externships with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Indian Health Service (IHS). Risa is a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist (CTTS), trained at the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center. These experiences instilled in Risa an appreciation of the tremendous value of a team-based, patient-centered approach to care to foster health promotion and disease prevention, ultimately contributing to a healthier society.