This issue’s cover story, on page 8, about the many ways in which pharmacists care for our nation’s wounded veterans, really touched me. Official combat operations in Iraq ended this summer, but the men and women who served during this long war will likely need help for many years. And pharmacists stand ready as members of the patient-care team.
The exciting news is that, for years, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense (DoD) have recognized how important pharmacists are to the health of active-duty soldiers and veterans alike.
For instance, the VA has many pharmacist-managed clinics and pharmacists embedded in primary-care teams. And now clinical pharmacists are moving into new patient-care areas, such as mental health and women’s health. As ASHP members plan for the future of practice as part of the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI), we will be looking to our colleagues in the federal services for innovative, cutting-edge ideas.
The FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program has really geared up over the past few years. With more than 100 medications included in the program, and additional drugs being added each day, pharmacists are struggling to keep up with REMS requirements. The story on page 14 sheds light on the challenges of REMS as well as how ASHP members are staying ahead of the curve.
Innovation can be found in almost every hospital and health-system pharmacy in the U.S. In this issue, we highlight the work of the staff at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, N.Y., to develop a fail-safe intravenous medication delivery system. The work of this interdisciplinary team created a 99 percent compliance rate and measurable evidence of prevented errors. Check out this inspiring story on page 12.
As ASHP gears up for the PPMI Summit in November, we have been talking to pharmacy directors across the country about how they are implementing new models within their own institutions. On page 20, you’ll be interested to read about what the pharmacy staff at Fauquier Health in Warrenton, Va., has been doing to redefine its practice model.
Beginning with decentralizing pharmacy services in the mid-1990s, the team there has steadily moved into almost every clinical area of the hospital. As a result, medication error rates fell from 5 percent to just over 2.9 percent in three years. In addition, drug costs were lowered, and communication and collaboration with fellow health care professionals improved markedly.
I hope that you find much inspiration within the pages of this issue and that it serves as a source of energy to advance the pharmacy practice model within your own institution. Pharmacists everywhere, and ASHP members in particular, are doing amazing things for patients!
Diane Ginsburg, M.S., FASHP