All The Pieces Have Fit Together!

by Trish Wegner, B.S., Pharm.D., FASHP
September 21, 2012

Isn’t it a great feeling when you have been working for a long time on a puzzle and you finally get down to the last piece?  You sit back and take a look at your work and what you have accomplished and can enjoy the end result.  Volunteers and staff who worked for months on the ICHP Annual Meeting can feel proud of the results of their efforts.  The 2012 meeting marks one of the highest attendance records at 487 registrants!  That is a 5% increase even from last year’s record breaking attendance.

The theme of the meeting was “Solving the Healthcare Puzzle: Where Does Pharmacy Fit?”  Much of the programming centered on the role of pharmacy in the provision of patient care.  Keynote speaker, David Zilz, had some interesting insight and statistics.  He mentioned there are four major dynamics that will change pharmacy practice in the future: 1) patients and changing demographics, 2) pharmacy and other health care providers, 3) restructuring of health care systems, and 4) technologies and technicians/students.  There are over 310 million patients in the US with over 80% of them on prescriptions. Patients over the age of 65 account for over 19 million visits to the Emergency Department, and improper use of medications certainly is a contributing factor to visits.  Approximately 425,000 visits to the ED revealed inappropriate use of pain relievers.  So who are the healthcare providers out there taking care of patients?  There are over 3.3 million nurses, 980,000 physicians, more than 84,000 physician assistants and a total of 270,000 pharmacists, 57,000 of which are in health-systems.  More and more physicians are becoming hospitalists who are employees of the hospital.  Outcomes and cost are now being aligned between the physician and hospital.  More and more nurses are becoming doctors of nursing practice.  In 2008, over 3,400 nurses were enrolled in a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, and by 2011 that number tripled to 9,000.  In 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nurses mandated that by 2015, all entry-level Advanced Practice Nurses attain a DNP degree.  Many nurses are acting as physicians to fill primary care needs.  So pharmacy needs to be poised to adopt the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI) and assimilate into patient care with physicians and nurses.  Pharmacists need to adopt the use of technology and the help of pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students in daily practice.  We need to recognize the shift to ambulatory care and the need for seamless transition.  Dr. Zilz offered several pearls to attendees on how to stay relevant.  For more information on the keynote and other presentations, you can still go to to print presentation handouts.

Building on Zilz’s reference to the PPMI, there were several sessions focusing on this important initiative.  ASHP Past-President Stan Kent gave a review of the model and pointed out how Illinois compares to national trends in achieving the goals of the PPMI.  Several Illinois practitioners shared how they are meeting those goals where Illinois is lagging behind national statistics.  Pharmacists from all practice types including critical access hospitals provided insight.

Dr. Mark Loafman, a physician, gave an excellent presentation on how physicians, nurses and pharmacists can work together as an interdisciplinary team.  He expressed that it is vital to have all disciplines working collectively to care for patients.  Dr. Loafman described how the majority of healthcare resources and dollars are spent on “rescue care” and end stage care yet the minority of patients are in need of this care.  More effort needs to be expended on primary and secondary prevention where there are the majority of patients with chronic diseases.  So healthcare professionals need to have a shift in how they care for patients.  He validated Zilz’s prediction of a greater need for ambulatory care practitioners.  Dr. Loafman had some pearls on achieving clinical integration.  To learn more, refer to the program handouts as described earlier.

These are just a few examples of the meeting’s great programming.  Educational sessions also included reviews of several clinical national guidelines, patient counseling and transitioning, therapeutic reviews, and sifting through clinical studies to get the real story.  Many of the presentations qualified as preceptor training.  Technicians and students had additional sessions targeted to their scope of practice and needs.

Here is what some attendees said about the meeting:
Very well run meeting, thank you! Great keynotes.
Very good, enjoyed very much.
Great meeting, would not change a thing!
Outstanding job and thank you to the ICHP office staff and volunteers!
Thanks for another well planned and informative meeting, not to mention – just fun!
Great show! Looking forward to Spring meeting
Great presentations!
Wish I could have attended more of the meeting!

Many thanks to Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Gilead Sciences, Inc. for providing independent educational grants.
The residency roundtable was another huge success with almost 200 students in attendance!  The showcase this year offered 28 residency and fellowship programs from around the Midwest and also New Jersey.  This is up six programs from last year. What a great way to meet program directors, preceptors, and current residents before heading off to the hectic pace at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting.  Students, residents and new practitioners were able to meet pharmacy icon, David Zilz, at a reception on Thursday night and also network with other pharmacy leaders.  Our future is certainly bright with the wonderful talent seen in students and residents of today!

The exhibit program drew 55 vendors – another record!  Those represented included: pharmaceutical industry and packaging; medical devices and equipment; service vendors, education and training groups; and pharmacy recruiters.  The vendors really appreciated having the attendees thank them for attending.  Without the support of our colleagues in industry, we would not be able to have this meeting without increasing the registration fee significantly, so we owe them a big round of applause!  With educational grants dwindling in numbers and size, exhibit registration is our main source of revenue for the meeting.  Many thanks to our Gold Sponsor – Rx Remote Solutions and our Silver Sponsors – Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and Omnicell.  Please thank all of those who supported our organization and be sure to spend time in the exhibit area at our next meeting so that they continue to support ICHP!

What is your role in the healthcare puzzle?  Will you be an integral part of the interdisciplinary team?  Are you poised to adopt the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative?  Let’s work together to make all the puzzle pieces fit!
Mark your calendars for the ICHP/MSHP Spring Meeting, which will be held April 13th to 15th at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in St. Charles, MO.  Network with your colleagues from Missouri and plan to submit a poster!   

2013 will mark the 50th Anniversary of ICHP.  Join us for the 50th Anniversary Gala on September 20, 2013 at Drury Lane and
celebrate 50 years of caring.

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