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Atlantic General Hospital Celebrates National Pharmacy Week

October 20 marks the beginning of National Hospital & Health System Pharmacy Week, and the staff at Atlantic General Hospital has much to celebrate.

The evolution of the role of a hospital’s pharmacy has been dramatic in recent years as pharmacy staff move beyond compounding and dispensing medications to become vital members of multi-disciplinary patient care teams.

At Atlantic General, the pharmacy has played a key role in implementation of several patient safety and quality initiatives over the past year.

In January, the medication bar code scanning system that validates the administration for any medication a patient needs was expanded with the implementation of the Patient Electronic Record Keeping Service (PERKS). The nurse now scans the barcode on the patient’s wristband and then scans the medication the pharmacy has prepared. Any conflicts with the five rights of medication safety – right patient, right medication, right dosage, right time, and right route – will result in an alert in PERKS.

Shortly after, the pharmacy team worked with clinical and IT staff to install smart pumps. Medication pumps manage the flow of intravenous medications and nutrients from the dispensing container to the IV line and are programmable to control the timing and dose of medications. In March, Atlantic General replaced the standard pumps with technology that offers additional safety features. Now, if the dosage and timing the clinician tries to program into the pump don’t match what’s in the patient’s electronic record and the medication itself, or falls outside the safe ranges of medication in the smart pump’s library, an alert is given.

During National Pharmacy Week, Atlantic General will embark on a new project: the construction of an ancillary pharmacy. The new pharmacy, which will be built within existing space next to the hospital’s main lobby, will serve the first-fill prescription needs of patients being discharged from the ER, inpatient units and other areas of the hospital. The goal is to offer an added convenience for patients leaving the hospital, thereby improving their compliance with taking the medications their physicians have ordered.

“We’re very excited about these projects and are proud of the roles we play in patient care,” said James McGinnis, director of pharmacy services at Atlantic General Hospital. “My team has received many accolades during the past year, which attests to their hard work and dedication to patient care, and the community at large.”

William Boothe, Pharm.D, R.Ph., was named Preceptor of the Year by University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s pharmacy program. Jane-Hwa Huang, Pharm.D., BCPS, R.Ph., was awarded Safety Ambassador of the Year for the hospital for 2013. Leanne Ferraro, CPhT, was recently recognized as Safety Ambassador of the Month.