When it comes to medical care, no one on the hospital team understands medications and the role they play in a patient's body like the pharmacy team. While pharmacists have historically been responsible for dispensing prescriptions, hospital pharmacists now often assume a more hands-on clinical role in patient care.
Tyler Fries, PharmD RPh, Pharmacy Leader, stated “Ultimately we want safe accurate medication use with positive clinical outcomes.” He added, “Pharmacists are more involved in patient care than ever before. There’s an incredible opportunity for pharmacists to work with providers to improve patient outcomes.”
The pharmacist’s job begins when a patient is admitted. Initial patient interaction involves inquiring about current medications and ensuring that the patient is regularly following the dispensing orders. When a treatment plan is ordered for a patient, they review medication orders to look for potential drug interactions.
Kelly Hamilton, Pharmacist, stated, “We review every patient’s profile each morning to ensure the medication and dosage is still appropriate and we are still treating what we want to treat. And that there are no drug interactions.”
The pharmacy team stressed that accuracy of their work is vital to what they do each day. Kelly Shadduck, Pharmacy Tech, stated “We go to the patient’s room when they are admitted to get a complete list of medications and dosages that they are on and then forward that to the patient’s provider. Getting accurate medication reconciliations from patients is important.”
Pharmacists obtain the medical history from patients, but there is a backup, the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) which is an electronic database in the state. This allows pharmacists and providers to know what medications patients are taking if they are unable to provide that information.
Because medications go through a number of different hands, bar coding ensures accuracy and is a safety precaution.
Mary Kuck, Pharmacist, said “We bar code everything. Every single drug is bar coded five times throughout the process before it’s actually dispensed and given to a patient by a nurse which helps maintain a high level of accuracy.”
The pharmacy at Phelps Memorial is staffed from 6:00am-9:00pm and has remote pharmacy coverage overnight because every order must be verified.
The Pharmacy team has five pharmacists including Tyler Fries, PharmD RPh, Tonja Hawley, PharmD RPh, Kelly Hamilton, PharmD RPh, Mary Kuck, PharmD RPh, and Heather Ockinga, PharmD RPh. They also have an experienced team of pharmacy technicians: Crystal Tilson, Kelly Shadduck, Marcia Kuhlmann, and Tracy Helwick.