May 23, 2019
PING Group members work collaboratively
The Pharmacy INformatics Group (PING) at the U-M College of Pharmacy was created with the goal to enable patients and healthcare teams more easily make data-supported decisions about medication use.

Advances in technology and the collection of large amounts of health and medication data have the potential to address many long-standing concerns. A new team of researchers in the department of clinical pharmacy is using data and technology to help answer questions such as, how can we detect and eliminate health disparities, how do we optimize the benefits of patient medication use, and how do we enhance patient interaction through information technology?

The Pharmacy INformatics Group (PING) at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy was created with the goal to enable patients and healthcare teams more easily make data-supported decisions about medication use, PING collaborates with academic and industry partners, including engineering, health services, and information science, to plan, conduct, and disseminate pharmacy informatics studies.

The field of pharmacy informatics combines healthcare delivery with data science, and human-computer interaction research to create a system of care that supports the cognitive decision-making of patients and pharmacists about medications. As a field, informatics spans data management, data analytics, and human-technology interaction. 

“The U-M College of Pharmacy prepares leaders in the field – students entering the profession need to be prepared for an increasingly connected digital healthcare environment,” says Michael Dorsch, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy.  “PING studies novel approaches for pharmacists to be more effective in an age of rapidly advancing healthcare technology. The group’s research efforts center on improving patient care and pharmacist work by developing computer algorithms and digital health technologies that can be implemented into systems of care.

“We are addressing a research and education agenda to help prepare pharmacists for a future practice of routinely learning from data to improve the safety and utility of medication use,” says Allen Flynn, assistant professor of Learning Health Systems at the U-M School of Medicine. “Pharmacists will increasingly take advantage of emerging technologies that help generate new clinical insight about the impacts of medication use. These insights will be communicated directly to prescribers and the public through information technology.”

“We hope this effort will evolve into a self-sustaining research core within the College,” notes Corey Lester, research assistant professor of clinical pharmacy. “We’re involving industry, government, and patients in the research process so that we can advance U-M’s mission to serve the community.”

“Our services are available to individuals and organizations who want to find insights from data  in a rigorous, scientific manner,” explains Antoinette Coe, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy. “Whether industry partners, nonprofits, or healthcare organizations, if you have identified a problem related to medication use, have data you do not know how to analyze, or seek informatics expertise, PING is well suited to meet the challenge.”

Students from STEM fields, including pharmacy, nursing, medicine, public health, mathematics, engineering, computer science, or information science who are interested in using data and technology to improve clinical and operational healthcare outcomes should apply for Doctoral and Post-doctoral positions with PING.  Students will have the opportunity to research the design, development, and implementation of technology in the modern day healthcare environment.  Connect with PING today at PING-Info@umich.edu