ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

September 28, 2010

Finding Inspiration in Many Places

Diane Ginsburg, M.S., FASHP

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

June 1, 2010

Achieving Balance in Today’s Connected World

Diane Ginsburg, M.S., FASHP

SOCIAL NETWORKING HAS BECOME such a standard part of my day that it’s hard to believe that just a decade ago, Facebook, Twitter, etc., were mere blips on the horizon. I have to admit that it’s easy to get a little compulsive about posting updates, keeping in touch with friends and colleagues, and sharing information and opinions on everything from my latest travel exploits to what’s happening in the classroom.
As a pharmacy educator, I am blessed to be surrounded by many soon-to-be practitioners. It’s fun to tap into their wealth of knowledge about this digital world and to see how creating a virtual identity is almost second nature to this generation.

But social networking is not without its perils. As you’ll see in this issue’s cover story (page 8), we all are navigating in uncharted waters. In this new world, we’re collectively trying to figure out how best to maintain our professionalism online while taking advantage of the many social benefits of this technology. I hope the tips and tools you’ll find in the story help you to chart your course online.
You may not be aware that a lion of our profession retired recently. Rear Admiral Robert Pittman, B.S.Pharm., M.P.H., U.S. Navy, recently spoke with InterSections about his service (page 14) with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the Indian Health Service. RADM Pittman’s work to bring health care to rural patients and positively influence the federal pharmacy practice model is an inspiring story for us all.
I’m sure you’ve followed the aftermath of recent catastrophic events, such as the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. The untold story is one that’s happening at the frontlines among patient-care providers. Pharmacists who are part of Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) and International Medical Surgical Response Teams are stepping in and providing valuable patient care. Interested in learning more about DMATs? Check out the story on page 12.

Finally, as pharmacists move into more direct patient-care roles, they are finding many opportunities to influence the health of their patients. Take a look at page 19 to see how pharmacists are using the Rx for Change (Ask-Advise-Refer) program to help patients stop using tobacco products. It’s amazing what a simple question can do to get the ball rolling toward achieving better health!
Hope you enjoy this issue! If you have any questions or suggestions for future stories, please send me an e-mail at or Looking forward to hearing from you!

Diane Ginsburg, M.S., FASHP

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