2015 Recipient and Finalists

The recipient of the 2015 Award for Excellence in Medication-Use Safety, a partnership program between the ASHP Foundation and the Cardinal Health Foundation, was announced at a dinner honoring the awardees on December 6, 2015. The recipient and finalists are:

Houston Methodist Hospital System
Houston, TX
Clinical Management of High-Risk Medication Use to Mitigate the Incidence of Hospital-Acquired Delirium in the Geriatric Population

Delirium, a common, serious and potentially preventable source of morbidity and premature death among hospitalized elders, is poorly recognized and has been shown to precipitate cognitive and functional decline. Preventing delirium is the most important goal, yielding the greatest benefits on quality of life and cost savings. Two medications account for approximately 40 percent of delirium cases, and evidence exists with benzodiazepines, opioids and drugs with anticholinergic properties.

Houston Methodist Health System internal data revealed that about 44 percent of elderly inpatients received orders for one or more targeted deliriogenic medications. We believed that high-risk medication use can be mitigated through a multipronged, team-based approach and that such reduction could positively impact incident delirium. Pharmacy leaders collaborated with an interprofessional team to develop multihospital, multidisciplinary, multipronged initiatives aimed at reducing patient risk.

Read more about Houston Methodist Hospital System's initiative or watch the video.


University of Colorado Hospital
Aurora, CO
Thinking Outside the Pump: Strategies for Improving the Safety of Patient-Controlled Analgesia

Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) is an effective method for controlling pain when used appropriately. Opiate narcotics commonly used in PCA are considered to be high-alert medications and therefore bear a heightened risk of causing significant patient harm when they are used in error.  Review of University of Colorado Hospital aggregate patient occurrence data through our hospital-wide Medication Safety Steering Committee identified a significant patient safety concern with this low-volume/high-risk therapy. Review of data by multidisciplinary committees identified that the major contributing factors to these patient occurrences were our electronic health record build, inconsistent practices related to independent double checks, outdated technology and nonstandardized drug concentrations.

Safe use of PCA depends on a comprehensive program that employs key safety principles throughout each step of the medication-use process. The interprofessional team utilized an innovative multiphase strategy to design an approach to care that ultimately reduced medication errors and patient harm related to PCA.

Read more about UC Health's initiative or watch the video.


University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System
Chicago, IL
Novel Pharmacist Led Personalized Medicine Program Improves Patient Safety, Clinical and Health-Care Utilization Outcomes

Beginning in 2012, the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI-Health) implemented a pharmacist-led, interdisciplinary Personalized Medicine Program. Precision or personalized medicine, specifically incorporation of genetic information into the therapeutic decision-making and patient monitoring processes should optimize medication use, reduce failure rates of initial treatment and improve clinical and healthcare utilization outcomes.

The UI-Health’s Personalized Medicine Program was established with the goal to improve targeted high-alert medication safety, as well as related clinical and healthcare utilization outcomes. The program has a broad scope that extends throughout the health system (inpatient, transitions of care, outpatient) and includes multiple components of the medication-use process. Four high-alert therapeutic areas were targeted: antithrombotics being the first to be fully implemented. Pharmacists have taken a leadership role in program needs assessment; design; implementation; staff education; provision of direct patient care; and quality and outcomes data tracking, analysis, and dissemination.

Read more about UI Health's initiative or watch the video.
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