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A majority of the pharmacy schools and faculties around the globe are yet offer digital health education or training, a latest survey by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) revealed on Wednesday (Jan 27).

The report entitled ‘FIP digital health in pharmacy education: Developing a digitally enabled pharmaceutical workforce’ has surveyed 1,060 pharmacy schools, faculty members, students, and practitioner groups from 91 countries.

It investigated the readiness and responsiveness of pharmacy education with regard to digital health and identified knowledge and skills gaps in the pharmaceutical workforce.

The survey found that many practitioners are lacking familiarity with emerging digital health technologies such as blockchain, bots, digital medicines and artificial intelligence, and only a small fraction of these respondents had received continuous educational development on digital health.

Pharmacy schools and faculties have also reported a lack of experts and resources needed for digital health education.

Professor Aukje Mantel-Teeuwisse, chair of the report group, said: “With increased complexity of health conditions and ageing populations, digital health can be the key to many unmet needs in health services. A capable and digitally enabled pharmaceutical workforce is required to make use of the full potential of digital health.”

According to FIP pharmacy education needs to accelerate the uptake of digital health technologies in pharmaceutical care by educating the current and future pharmaceutical workforce.

“Pharmacists historically have embraced information technologies. This report lays the foundation of our current status in pharmacy education for us to build upon. I hope this report and its findings will inspire pharmacy schools to develop and implement lectures or courses in their own curricula, and national and regional professional organisations to equip the pharmaceutical workforce with the necessary digital health knowledge and skills,” Mantel-Teeuwisse added.

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