Health care IT expert speaks on trends shaping the future of pharmacy, health care

SPOKANE – Pharmacist Steve Riddle spoke with students in the Washington State University Doctor of Pharmacy program on Thursday, October 2, as part of the college’s Preparing for Your Career in Pharmacy Seminar Series.

Riddle discussed some of the key drivers that will impact the future of pharmacy: the trend towards population health management, new payment models, and the advancement of health information technology (HIT).

“Technology is going to be the wave of the future in health care,” said Riddle.

Riddle is both a pharmacist and an expert in health services technology solutions. He serves as the director of clinical development for Pharmacy OneSource, a Wolters Kluwer Health company, which provides cloud-based IT solutions and electronic evidence-based content that empowers health care providers to optimize point-of-care delivery across populations.

“When it comes to controlling chronic conditions and health care costs, it’s all about population management, which is an emerging, more strategic way to manage patients and is a more proactive approach,” Riddle said to the crowd in the Walgreens Auditorium of the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building.

“Pharmacists need to be part of that solution. We have the greatest access to these populations.”

Riddle has 30 years of experience in health care, including inpatient and ambulatory clinical services, pharmacy administration, and quality improvement. He received his Bachelor of Pharmacy from Washington State University in 1985, and his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Washington. His specific professional interests are quality improvement, health care system reform, population management, and wellness-centered healthcare.

The goal of the seminar series is to expose WSU student pharmacists to the leaders in the pharmacy profession who are driving advances in the field of pharmacy and advocating positive changes in the healthcare system. Speakers provide students with their vision of how the profession is evolving and the opportunities that exist for future pharmacists to change and advance the practice of pharmacy.

In addition to discussing the future health care landscape, Riddle shared some insights to achieving individual success. He encouraged future pharmacists to get out of their “pharmacy silos” once they start their careers.

“The number one problem we face [as pharmacists] is that people don’t understand what we do and how we can contribute to outcomes,” said Riddle.

“You need to look at the big problems, understand and see how you can contribute to -or solve- those problems. We are well-aligned as pharmacists to contribute to outcomes, so know how to differentiate yourself by solving problems.”

The lunchtime lecture was sponsored by the Spokane Teachers Credit Union (STCU). STCU’s core value of continuing education echoes the college’s mission to educate outstanding health care professionals and scientists. The career seminar series will run throughout the upcoming academic year, and expose student pharmacists to current pharmacy leaders from across the country who are driving innovation, advancing health care practice and improving people’s lives.