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Alumnae Capture First Place, Honorable Mention for Pharmacist-led Innovation Projects at TSHP Seminar  

UH College of Pharmacy alumnae Carolyn Alessi, Pharm.D. ('01), and Patti J. Romeril, Pharm.D. ('97), were among the top honorees in the Practitioner categories of the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists Research & Education Foundation Poster Competition at the TSHP Annual Seminar April 22-24 in Frisco, Texas.

carolyn alessi photoA clinical specialist at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital, Alessi won first place in the Clinical category for her project, "Creating A Synergist Model: Innovative Pharmacy Practice in A Long-Term Care and Skilled Nursing Facility." The project was coauthored by fellow alumna Lourdes M. Cuéllar, M.S. ('79), R.Ph. (B.S. '73), FASHP, administrative director of Pharmacy, Medical Outpatient Clinics and Clinical Support Services at TIRR.

Their project involved implementing a new care model based on a pharmacist-led medication management team as part of a comprehensive, patient-centered transitional care program in a long-term care and skilled nursing facility. Some of the key elements of the practice model included having a pharmacist on site twice weekly to conduct medication reconciliation, drug regimen reviews, clinical surveillance and monitoring, creating a dashboard for intervention tracking, and initiation of an antibiotic stewardship program. In addition, Alessi manages warfarin, vancomycin and aminoglycoside therapy, and renal dosing under medical staff approved protocols.

The investigators reported medication cost savings of $32,000 and a 50 percent reduction in drug wastage as well as more than 500 pharmacist interventions and 50 immunizations during the first seven months of the program. 

Fellow alumna Romeril, who serves as system director of Clinical Pharmacy Services for Memorial Hermann Health System, was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the Practitioner-Administrative category for her project, "Utilizing Clinical Decision Support to Improve Medication Management in the Elderly."

patti romeril photoRomeril's project incorporated Clinical Decision Support (CDS) alerts into the hospital's electronic patient chart system to assist clinicians in preventing adverse drug events (ADEs) in older adults. The alerts were based on the 2012 Beers Criteria, a database of potentially inappropriate medications for older adults that is periodically updated and released by the American Geriatrics Society.

The project team reviewed the Beers Criteria to develop a list of medications with the highest potential to result in ADEs in the elderly population and paired with a list of low-risk alternative medications. A CDS alert was developed to inform the prescriber of a potential ADE along with the list of alternatives and a pharmacy consultation option. During the project period, the system generated more than 13,000 alerts for nearly 8,000 patients, with an alternative acceptance rate of a recommended alternative more than double the previous rate.    

Coauthors on the CDS project were Memorial Hermann's Anwar M. Sirajuddin, M.B.B.S., M.S., CPHIMS, director of Clinical Informatics - Knowledge & Content, Quality and Clinical Decision Support; Gulnar Banglawala, Pharm.D., BCPS, clinical informaticist; and Jennifer Westmorland, M.B.B.S., manager, Clinical Solutions.