2006 Awards Recipients

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Research and Education Foundation announced Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska, as the recipient of the 2006 Award for Excellence in Medication-Use Safety. The two finalists were McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina, and St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, Inc., in Savannah, Georgia.

The recipient and finalists were formally recognized at an invitation-only luncheon held during the 2006 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, California (view the Excellence Luncheon video presentation). Alaska Native Medical Center received a $50,000 award to be used to further promote medication-use safety in its health system. The finalists each received a $10,000 award.

2006 Awardee –  Alaska Native Medical Center, Anchorage, Alaska
The Alaska Native Medical Center’s Southcentral Foundation Telepharmacy Program sought to improve pharmaceutical care to its patient population of more than 36,000, spread out over a nearly 2,000-mile area with limited transportation options. Medical services are provided by community health aides, with physicians based in Anchorage making periodic field visits and serving as consultants via telephone. Chronic medications were filled through the Southcentral Foundation’s Village Pharmacy division, but acute medications were distributed by non-pharmacy personnel. There was no pharmacist clinical oversight of the more than 18,000 prescriptions being processed per year.

Alaska Native Medical Center’s multidisciplinary team determined that a telepharmacy solution was best-suited for the challenges presented by distance, weather, and lack of available pharmacy professionals. In its 2 years of operation, the Telepharmacy Program has made it possible to bring all medication procurement, storage and accountability into compliance with the standards of practice; has improved access to needed medications; and has allowed Alaska Native Medical Center to record prescribing trends, collect data that was used to further improve the medication-use safety initiative, and to reconcile patient medications across the continuum of care. The number of prescriptions per month increased from less than 1,000 to more than 1,600. Pharmacists are able to have greater influence over the prescribing habits, encourage medication adherence, and help make medications more cost effective for their patients.

Alaska Native Medical Center will present their work at an educational session at the ASHP 2007 Summer Meeting in San Francisco, California. Details about this session will be posted as soon as they are available.

 Multidisciplinary Team
Doug Herring, R.Ph., Chair
Heidi Brainerd, R.Ph., M.S.
Carolyn Crowder
Chris Devlin
Doug Eby, M.D.
Matt Keith, R.Ph.
Tommy Leonard III, LCPhT
Kristin Maves, Pharm.D.
Judy Rose, Pharm.D.

2006 Finalist — McLeod Regional Medical Center, Florence, South Carolina

In 2001, McLeod Regional Medical Center had a rate of harm of 35 patients per day, a punitive error-reporting system, an antiquated pharmacy, and no clinical pharmacy services. McLeod launched its Pharmacy Management Project with one purpose in mind: to reduce medication errors. Headed by the Director of Pharmacy, the project involved physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and administrators in the planning and implementation of a redesigned medication safety process. The new process includes a progressive pharmacy service, a non-punitive and confidential error-reporting system, electronic medication administration records and a medication safety education program.

The results were impressive: The rate of harmful events decreased by 90%. The number of steps to administer medications dropped from 17 to 5 and the medication turnaround time decreased from 1 hour 45 minutes to 7 minutes. McLeod’s pharmacy staff is now 100% decentralized, making them more accessible to nurses, physicians and patients.

Multidisciplinary Team
Natasha Nicol, Pharm.D., Chair
C. Richard Alexander, M.D.
Jenean Blackmon, R.N.
Sabrina Capell, R.N.
Beki Cooley, R.N.
Kay Davis, R.T.
Teresa Dullaghan, M.S.N.
F. Richard Ervin, M.D.
Trish Handley, R.N.
Leanne Huminski, R.N.
Kelly Lawson, B.S.N.
Stephanie McLeod, R.N.
Susan Pickle, M.S.N.
Mark A. Reynolds, M.D.
Debbie Rogers, B.S.N.
Mariea Segars, M.S.N.
Tiffni Shealy
Kathy Sims, R.N.
Shannon Suggs, Pharm.D.
Jumana Swindler
Keith Torgersen, C.N.A.
Alva Whitehead, M.D.
Marcia Wilds, R.N.

2006 Finalist — St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, Inc., Savannah, Georgia
In 2000, a multidisciplinary team at St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, Inc., conducted a medication safety self-assessment and discovered a need to improve the IV medication administration process. Internal evidence showed that IV errors were contributing to adverse patient outcomes. SJC formed a team of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and administrators to improve medication safety. The team chose to implement smart infusion technology in every patient care area. They also established infusion safety goals and a staff education program that included computer-based and hands-on training.

Improvement in the safety of IV medication administration at SJC has been significant. The new system has prevented IV medication errors with a high potential for harm as well as adverse outcomes for respiratory depression. In the first 9 months of use, the new system issued 521 alerts that resulted in changed or cancelled infusions, averting significant medication overdoses. As an early adopter of smart IV technology, SJC has become a model for other institutions looking to implement similar systems.


Multidisciplinary Team
Ray R. Maddox, Pharm.D., Chair
Bob Cary
Leigh Craft, R.N.
Sherry Danello, M.S., R.N.
Marianne Fields, R.N.
Cary Freeland, R.N.
Melissa Griner, R.N.
Paul Gutting, M.S.
Beth Heape, Pharm.D.
Melanie Howard, R.N.
James Jackson, M.D.
Deborah Kemp, R.N.
Joe Loya
Dennis Reed
Hal Richards, Pharm.D.
Patsy Wallace, R.N.
Carolyn K. Williams, B.S., Pharm.D.