Although technology use, such as clinical decision support and electronic prescribing systems, is common in community pharmacies, very little research has been conducted to determine how technology actually supports the work that pharmacists do. Our projects have focused on the impact of technology on pharmacists’ work as well as the role for technology in improving communication between clinics and pharmacies and ultimately enhancing safety.
Our projects are significant because they are some of the first in the community pharmacy setting to demonstrate that, when poorly designed, technology fails to support pharmacists’ performance and can create hazardous conditions that may lead to medication errors. On the other hand, when technology is optimally designed, it can work behind the scenes to streamline work. Our research takes a broader sociotechnical approach that includes end-user perspectives. We recognize that the implementation of new health IT is not conducted in isolation, but in relation to providers’ existing social and technical system, including workflows, workload, culture, and social interactions.