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June 19, 2017

ASHP Named Top Workplace for Second Consecutive Year

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

I’M HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE that ASHP has once again been named by The Washington Post as one of the 2017 Top Workplaces in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. As part of the Top Workplaces award, ASHP will be featured in a special section of The Washington Post on Sunday, June 18, so pick up a copy of Sunday’s paper or check it out online.

The evaluation for the Top Workplaces program is based on feedback from an employee survey that many of our staff completed at the beginning of the year. Nearly 85 percent of staff members participated in the survey, and the results showed that our team appreciates the remarkable work culture we’ve created here at ASHP — a culture that engages our team members and inspires them to do their best work.

This year marks ASHP’s 75th anniversary, and I would like to thank our wonderful team for its longstanding dedication to our members, their patients, and the ASHP mission. We would not be where we are today without all of the hard work and enthusiasm of our team members as we lead the way to better patient care. We work hard to make ASHP a place where people can thrive, and this prestigious Top Workplaces award demonstrates the passion we have for supporting our members and each other.

This award is our third consecutive honor for being a top place to work, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team. In addition to being named a Washington Post Top Workplace for both 2016 and 2017, ASHP was also recently recognized by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Healthcare in the nation. Together, these regional workplace awards in one of the most competitive job markets in the country, coupled with the national recognition from Modern Healthcare, indicate that ASHP has distinguished itself from our peers across the country by creating a great place to work for employees.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of ASHP, I am honored and humbled by all that we’ve achieved throughout the years. As we’ve strived to make ASHP your professional home, we’ve also made great strides in making ASHP a home for our staff. By making sure our team members are happy, we can better serve your professional needs as pharmacists. Our success correlates directly with yours — and this success leads to better patient care.

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of your patients and for being members of ASHP.



June 8, 2017

Informatics Helps Clinical Pharmacists Elevate Transitions of Care

PHARMACY INFORMATICS EQUIPS PHARMACISTS with the data and insight to improve transitions of care, which expands their clinical influence far beyond medication verification, reconciliation, and consultation. By providing more precise information, pharmacy informatics can improve patient safety, make transitions of care more efficient, and reduce readmissions.

Emmanuel Enwere, Pharm.D., M.S.

According to Emmanuel Enwere, Pharm.D., M.S., a Clinical Informatics Pharmacist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (UTMDACC) in Houston, “Integrated electronic health records (EHRs) give us a better picture of who patients are and their risk factors for readmission.” EHRs also make reviewing patient data a lot easier. “We can easily pull a report, for example, on how many patients received pharmacy transitions-of-care services or the number of readmissions in a given month with the improved data capture from an integrated EHR system,” he said.

Pharmacy Scoring System
Phuoc Anh (Anne) Nguyen, Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS, is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at UTMDACC who focuses on transitions of care and internal medicine. She worked with the informatics team to create a transitions-of-care pharmacy scoring system to prioritize patients on the General Internal Medicine service. The transitions-of-care pharmacy scoring system adds points to a patient’s cumulative score for various factors such as the number of medications, types of high-risk medications, age, timeliness of medication history, and allergy assessment. A higher score “helps us to determine which patients might need medication reconciliation first,” said Dr. Enwere.

Anne Nguyen, Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS

For example, due to limited pharmacy resources in the emergency center, a patient who was admitted overnight did not receive a visit by pharmacy at the time of admission. Fortunately, the patient was flagged as a priority because of age, lack of medication history, polypharmacy, high risk for readmission, and no review of allergy information, noted Dr. Nguyen. She met with the patient and discovered upon admission medication reconciliation that he was taking 10 additional medications with multiple discrepancies. “The pharmacy monitoring system — with its auto-populated, rule-based scoring, patient list, and communication handoff tools — allows pharmacy staff to better prioritize their workload based on patients’ needs,” said Dr. Nguyen.

She recalled one patient who had a score of 70. “She had 56 medications on her list — the most I’ve ever seen,” Dr. Nguyen said. The score was so high because the patient went to several doctors and pharmacies. According to Dr. Nguyen, if the cancer center hadn’t used the transitions-of-care pharmacy scoring system, pharmacists might not have been alerted and triaged the patient appropriately.

Two years ago, the UTMDACC Division of Pharmacy was awarded an ASHP Foundation Practice Advancement Initiative Demonstration Grant to evaluate the impact of a pharmacy transitions-of-care program at a National Comprehensive Cancer Center. The recent implementation of a new integrated EHR system, which included many improved transitions-of-care tools, was extremely helpful in supporting the pharmacy transitions-of-care program services. Dr. Enwere explained that getting buy-in from hospital administration was not difficult. In fact, administrators were receptive to the pharmacy’s program to improve transitions of care because it aligned well with other efforts in the health system to increase patient safety and reduce readmission rates.

Dr. Enwere and the transitions-of-care workgroup within the ASHP Clinical Information Systems section are currently looking at the use of pharmacy informatics in transitions of care from a broader perspective. They surveyed ASHP members to assess the impact of technology and pharmacists on transitions of care at health systems nationwide. The data gathered from the survey will help shine light on technology best practices related to transitions of care and potential areas where pharmacy informatics can continue to improve continuity of care.

Informatics Improves Patient Education at Johns Hopkins

Emily Pherson, Pharm.D.

Pharmacists have always played a role in patient education, particularly around medication use. Informatics is now allowing them to improve patient care. “The technology greatly expands the amount of education we’re able to do as pharmacists … and has fundamentally been a game-changer,” said Emily Pherson, Pharm.D., a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist of Adult Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Again, informatics allows greater precision in prioritizing patients. According to Dr. Pherson, when a physician prescribes a new medication in one of five high-risk medication classes, the patient’s EHR at Johns Hopkins sends out an alert to the hospital’s pharmacy. After a pharmacist educates the patient about the new medication, “all pharmacists, including the decentralized or rounding pharmacists, can see that the patient education occurred and was fulfilled,” said Dr. Pherson.

The same holds true for delivery and verification of medication histories. “The pharmacy techs typically collect the medication history, and then the pharmacist checks, confirms, and reconciles the list,” she added.

Informatics Drives Innovation in Pharmacy Services
In addition to using informatics to fine-tune transitions of care, pharmacists are also using informatics to expand services. For example, direct delivery of outpatient medications prior to hospital discharge can be coordinated and optimized through data collected by pharmacy informatics tools. Although these meds-to-beds programs are not necessarily new, they are expanding in scope and precision because of technology, noted Dr. Enwere.

Samm Anderegg, Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS

As pharmacists continue to find new ways to use informatics to improve patient care, several challenges remain. According to Samm Anderegg, Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS, Health IT Consultant with the Pharmacy Health Information Technology Collaborative, one of the biggest struggles with informatics is customizing the software or developing new software to support innovative pharmacy practices.

Dr. Anderegg believes that one day, every medication a patient is taking, their family history, their social history, and other details will be logged into their EHR as discrete data points with availability to all healthcare providers regardless of practice setting. Technology will soon be able to find associations among specific medications, patient factors, and outcomes so pharmacists can understand the whole patient, he explained. In the future, the technology may be able to know what treatments are best for patients based on this data.

However, even with all the progress in informatics, said Dr. Anderegg, “It’s never going to replace the cognitive ability of clinicians, who assimilate the information to individualize treatments for our patients.”

By Damian McNamara

June 1, 2017

Celebrating Former ASHP CEOs: Joseph A. Oddis, Sc.D. (Hon.)

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

ON MAY 19, the ASHP family celebrated the dedication of our new offices — the Joseph A. Oddis Global Headquarters of ASHP — named for the organization’s second and longest-serving CEO. It’s fitting that Dr. Oddis’ name graces our offices as we mark the beginning of a new era for ASHP. A visionary leader, he has had a profound and lasting impact on ASHP and the creation of modern clinical pharmacy practice and, undoubtedly, has improved patient care and public health.

Nearly six decades ago, in 1960, Dr. Oddis took over the helm of ASHP, known then as the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists. During his 37-year tenure as CEO, he transformed ASHP from an organization with 3,300 members and one staff person — Dr. Oddis — into a strong, vibrant, and influential force in pharmacy and healthcare. Under his leadership, ASHP grew to more than 31,000 members and 180 employees. Today, ASHP has nearly 45,000 members, a staff of more than 200, and a wide range of contributions that would not have been possible without Dr. Oddis’ extraordinary vision and tremendous leadership.

Joseph A. Oddis, (center) celebrates the dedication of ASHP’s new headquarters offices named in his honor. Dr. Oddis is joined by (from left) ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, son Joseph M. Oddis, granddaughter Rebecca Newman, daughter-in-law Debra Oddis, son-in-law Richard Newman, and ASHP President Lisa Gersema.

Dr. Oddis’ most enduring legacy is the ASHP family. A warm and generous leader, he took care to cultivate a staff culture that focused on serving our members in a respectful, team-based approach. He is a man of great humility who never sought the limelight. As ASHP grew and achieved renown, Dr. Oddis always credited staff, volunteer leaders, and members for the organization’s success.

Many of ASHP’s signature initiatives can be traced to Dr. Oddis’ leadership, including the accreditation of pharmacy residencies, the creation of education and certification programs for pharmacy technicians, and the expansion of continuing education opportunities for pharmacists with the conferences that would become the ASHP Summer Meetings and the award-winning Midyear Clinical Meeting.

Dr. Oddis was an early advocate for pharmacists as patient care providers on interprofessional teams and drove efforts to improve global pharmacy. In 1968, he established the ASHP Foundation, whose extensive research, educational, and awards programs make it a key partner for ASHP in driving pharmacy practice forward into a new and better future.

Under Dr. Oddis’ direction, ASHP cultivated our core strength in drug information and introduced the American Hospital Formulary Service, which has gained international recognition as the most comprehensive source of unbiased drug information. ASHP has also published hundreds of clinical and professional books that — taken together with our flagship publication, AJHP— provide pharmacists around the world with a vast, in-depth library of information to enhance their patient care services.

Dr. Oddis (center) with ASHP Past Presidents (from left) Gerald E. Meyer, Thomas S. Thielke, Janet A. Silvester, Steven L. Sheaffer, Marianne F. Ivey, Paul W. Abramowitz, Rebecca S. Finley, Philip J. Schneider, Fred M. Eckel.

Dr. Oddis is a man of incomparable grace, wisdom, and vision. When I served on the ASHP Board of Directors and as ASHP President in the early ’90s, I had the great pleasure to work very closely with Dr. Oddis. He was a mentor to me, as all of the ASHP presidents can attest, and I still seek his counsel and advice today. I am indebted to him and honored to follow in his footsteps.

Our new headquarters not only carries Dr. Oddis’ name, but also embodies a principle he emphasized during his time as CEO: ASHP headquarters is more than a building. It is the heart of our professional association, and it reflects the success of our members in providing care to the patients that you serve.

We are grateful to Dr. Oddis for that lesson and so many others. And we look forward to continuing his tremendous legacy during our 75th anniversary and for many years to come in the newly minted Joseph A. Oddis Global Headquarters of ASHP.



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