ASHP issued a press release today to outline its Pharmacy Practice Model Summit Recommendations and this caught my eye: “…all patients should have a right to the care of a pharmacist.” I believe the pharmacist is a key contributor on the medical team but I have noticed that not all health care systems count on pharmacists to be involved directly in patient care. As health care undergoes a dramatic transformation in the next decade, I believe this will become more apparent and significant in our industry. Even now, the pharmacist’s role is drastically changing as pharmacists are expected to collaborate with doctors and other caregivers on patient prescriptions – drug selection and dosing, conduct medication therapy management and reconciliation directly with the patient and perform important safety checks for drug interactions. Ultimately, the pharmacist is a key player in ensuring the right medication gets to the right patient, at the right time and in the right dose.
It’s too often that patients do not receive the right medication. A recent Pharmacy Practice News article, “To Err Is Still Human: Medication Errors Are A Persistent Challenge,” confirms this obstacle.
A section that stood out to me was:
Many of these lapses (31% in the OIG report and 28% in the North Carolina hospitals) were medication errors—a fact that doesn’t surprise Lyle Matthews, PharmD, director of pharmacy at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. “In a hospital, every interaction with a patient has the potential for error,” Dr. Matthews observed. “That said, the pharmacy carries the major portion of that risk, based on the sheer volume of medications dispensed, and the potential side effects and adverse drug reactions associated with those medications.” Indeed, more than 7,000 patients die each year due to medication errors, according to a 2006 IOM report. Why hasn’t more headway been made against this problem, and what can be done?
More than 7,000 patients die each year due to medication errors? That’s unbelievable. Working closely with pharmacists, I understand their overworked schedules. Pharmacies receive thousands of medication requests a day and it’s overwhelming. It’s difficult for pharmacists to become key contributors to patient care when they are unable to find the time.
Automation technology can free up pharmacists to be on the floor with the doctors and patients. Pharmacists can collaborate with the medical team to guarantee that patients are given the right treatments and reduce medication errors. At Talyst, we work hard to develop automation technology so pharmacists have more time to get up on the floor with patients.
Does your pharmacy use automation technology? How is it helping you reduce medication errors and increase patient safety? Looking forward to your thoughts!
[…] element involved in the process. Pharmacists are linchpins in the medication use system. They can play a significant role in improving the medication use process and reducing healthcare costs through medication therapy […]