Preston Aycox Pharm.D., M.S., works for Park Plaza Hospital – HCA as a Director of Clinical/Pharmacy Informatics. In May of 2016, Preston earned his Master of Science in Health Informatics and has some insightful tips to share after earning his degree from SBMI.
Tell us about the tools you use to blend the fields of pharmacy and informatics in your career.
At our facility, we utilize Cerner Millennium as our primary EHR application. Maintaining and optimizing the features of this software application are essential in advancing patient care. As the Director of Pharmacy Informatics, it is my role to ensure that bar code scanning metrics are appropriate, clinical decision support alerts are operational, new medications are built and functional within our EHR, and reporting tools are provided for the clinical and financial teams. These are a few key elements of the role but there are many other tasks that are essential in the daily operations of a healthcare institution.
How did SBMI prepare you for your current role?
The School of Biomedical informatics provided me with a basis of understanding which gave me a platform that I could build from. I was exposed to various fields of specialization and I was able to utilize relevant software tools within the industry. I was challenged to address issues that impact patient care. Graduating with a Master’s degree in Health Informatics allowed me to stand out amongst my peers and secure applicable employment. Through my experience at SBMI, I was able to see the entire picture and envision the end goal.
Who was your academic advisor while you were a student and how did he or she influence you?
Juliana Brixey, Ph.D. was my academic advisor. She provided me with support and guidance throughout my academic process. She ensured that I was focused and well prepared upon graduation. Knowing my professional goals, she advised me on class electives, class load/schedule, suggestions regarding national meetings, faculty, and journals and ensured my success by providing support and encouragement. She was a very insightful and very knowledgeable resource.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
My goals are to continue to advance within the area of informatics and to contribute to the development of the field. I have a very progressive employer that encourages professional development and leadership. Within five years, my options will be unlimited. I will have the credentials and the experience to develop my own pathway. I envision pairing the real world experiences with academia and providing students with relevant educational exposure. Other areas of interest are consulting, government, and data analytics.
What advice would you share with current SBMI students and those considering applying to the program?
The demand in healthcare is for hybrid professionals. Healthcare informatics is the future of medicine. Having both a pharmacy degree and a degree in informatics allows me to view scenarios from two different angles. SBMI provides the students with access to professionals located within the Texas Medical Center; many of these professionals are alumni of SBMI and are specialized in multiple areas. The opportunity that SBMI provides is unmatched when compared to other institutions.