We Captured More Than A Moment in Time!

by Trish Wegner, Pharm.D., FASHP - Vice President Professional Services
November 1, 2009

“Process and Frame” was the tag line for the ICHP 2009 Annual Meeting - in keeping with the presidential theme of photography for the year. Though a photograph only captures a moment in time, this meeting provided several memorable moments – ones that will stay within our minds and even our hearts.

Sorrel King, mother and founder of the Josie King Foundation, was the keynote speaker. Her compelling story about the events leading up to her daughter’s death left many in the audience in tears. Eighteen month-old little girls are not supposed to die, especially just before Christmas, but that is what happened to Josie as a result of miscommunication and medical errors. Though Josie tried to show how thirsty she was, desperately sucking on a washcloth, her parents trusted the healthcare providers were doing what was in their daughter’s best interest to limit fluids. The final blow came when Josie received a dose of methadone which sent her into cardiac arrest. Analysis of the events concluded that Josie had died of severe dehydration and methadone overdose. The terrible thing is….it was preventable. It is what we always fear in healthcare – that we overlooked something that results in the harm or death of a patient. The Kings’ lives were shattered, but I guarantee that there were many at that hospital who will never be the same as a result of Josie’s death. Patient safety is our top priority in the delivery of medications. There can be no room for not following safety protocols or initiatives, not reading labels carefully, not reviewing the patient chart before dispensing a medication, or not speaking up if you think something is wrong. Sorrel’s story will most definitely stay in the hearts of those who have heard it. To learn more about this tragedy, go to http://www.josieking.org/blog/2009/09/watch-sorrel-on-nbcs-today-show.cfm and view a clip from the Today Show with Sorrel King and Matt Lauer that took place shortly after the Annual Meeting. You can also purchase the book that Sorrel authored called Josie’s Story. Perhaps one of your colleagues who attended the Annual Meeting will let you borrow the book they purchased at the meeting. Here are just a few comments from attendees:
  • Mrs. King is a great speaker with a powerful important message. Her story was not only powerful but will stick with me through my practice.
  • Excellent program. Mrs. King delivered a powerful message.
  • Very inspiring story for anyone who has had the opportunity to hear it. This story has definitely impacted how I will practice as a pharmacist. This topic and Mrs. King’s story has brought a great awareness to the pharmacy community/profession.
  • Mrs. King’s talk was excellent. It really had an effect on my practice. It makes you think about the impact a pharmacist can have on a patient’s life.
  • This will cause me to have more awareness in my practice and not hesitate to question an order that I feel is inappropriate.
Our country was in its ninth month of a new administration during the Annual Meeting, and healthcare reform is one of the key political discussion points. Regardless of which party you belong to, access and quality of healthcare is a top priority. Henri Manasse, Executive Vice-President and CEO of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists opened the door to shed some light on this subject. Based on his national and international role in pharmacy practice, Dr. Manasse has his finger on the pulse of healthcare reform. He discussed societal and professional practice issues driving health care reform; the cultural issues steering the US political agenda; and what political decisions affect pharmacy practice in hospitals and health-systems. Every pharmacist, pharmacy technician, and pharmacy student can have a role in shaping the future of healthcare by engaging your state and national leaders in discussion and educating them on the role that we can play in optimizing patient care.

It’s flu season! But not just any flu season. The threat of the H1N1 virus causing a pandemic in the world and in our own communities is a real one. Programming was included to educate members on the history and nature of this deadly virus. Dr. Susan Gerber, Chief Medical Officer of the Chicago Department of Public Health, was on hand to describe the impact this disease could have in our health care systems and the treatment options available to us. Practical “how to” guidance on pandemic preparation at your own institution was provided by Joanne Witsil, Emergency Medicine and Toxicology Specialist at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital. Dr. Witsil is the pharmacy representative on a multidisciplinary team focused on disaster preparedness. Participants learned how to implement a similar program, which resources are available, and practical lessons learned.

Ever heard the term “Medical Home”? If not, you are now behind the times. Don’t worry – there are several more who have not heard this term. A medical home model provides accessible, continuous, coordinated, and comprehensive patient-centered medical care which is managed by a primary care physician with the active involvement of non-physician staff. This is where YOU come in as a pharmacist. Kevin Colgan, ASHP Immediate Past-President and ICHP Past-President gave an excellent overview of this practice model and Hae Mi Choe, Director of Innovative Ambulatory Care at the University of Michigan, described their model and how pharmacists are an integral part to maintain and improve the health of their patients. Though the term was first used in 1967, it is only now that it is truly being implemented. Be sure to read up on this and get involved in your own institution – don’t be just a bystander.

The topics described in this article are just a snap-shot of all the programming. Other topics included new technologies including: an in-depth review of carrousels, peer group selection, basic research and statistics, literature evaluation, patient communication, Illinois hospital initiatives related to ASHP 2015, pediatric pearls, and pharmaceutical waste management. All of these topics were selected based on member requests so the Programming Committee does take member input seriously. In addition, an interactive workshop on how to track and manage hospital acquired infections brought rave reviews. National infectious disease specialists David Burgess, Richard Drew and David Nicolau served as the speakers.

The Pharmacy Technician Session covered the topics of how to get involved in a medical mission as a technician, unique roles for pharmacy technicians and a review of new drugs approved in 2009. One of the speakers, a certified technician in the hospital setting, drove all the way from Minnesota to talk about her experiences on a medical mission. Technicians were also able to participate in programming throughout the meeting including the law session on pharmaceutical waste management. Here are some comments from participants:
  • Very interesting and inspirational. Never knew of technicians going on medical missions. Very enjoyable.
  • Interesting presentation. Speaker did a great job relaying her experience on a Medical mission trip and role of technicians.
  • The speaker was very inspiring to me. I have always thought of doing something like this, maybe now I will actually do it! Good presentation!
  • Exceptional presentation. Well prepared handouts and slides. More of this next year! [New Drug Update]
  • Nice to have so many Tech’s speaking. Excellent presentations, very valuable!
  • All three Technicians did a good job of explaining their duties and settings. It is interesting to hear what other Tech’s are doing and it goes best when done by Tech’s.
Eighty-five students and nineteen residents were registered for the meeting – a fantastic turnout! These young practitioners learned about how to be successful in a residency, what to consider when doing a residency project, and one-onone time with residency directors to learn about their programs. Of course, the opportunity to network is priceless. When asked “What skills did you learn in the residency roundtables?” we received the following comments:

I learned…
  • Interviewing skills! Also learned that I need to really know myself before starting the process.
  • A lot! Interviewing, CV’s, letter of intent, letters of recommendation, what they are looking for in applicants.
  • How to prepare for a residency and what I need to do before I apply for one.
  • A lot of information about interviewing, preparing for interviews, preparing CVs, and picking a residency.
  • A lot about putting a CV together. Interviewing tips and how to successfully get a residency you will enjoy.
  • How to properly prepare for an interview. How to properly write CV’s and letters of intent. What sorts of activities during pharmacy school that can help my application.
  • How the resident directors think. I feel like I gained good insight into what they are looking for.
ICHP plans to continue the residency roundtables and showcase since it has been so well received. If you have not participated, put it on your calendar for next year. The Annual Meeting will be August 26-28th with the student programming on the 28th.

The exhibit program was a picture of success with forty-eight exhibitors taking part in the meeting! Those represented included pharmaceutical industry and packaging, medical devices and equipment, technology, wholesalers/distributors, publishing companies, pharmacy recruitment, hospitals and colleges of pharmacy. 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! A special thank you goes to our gold sponsor – McKesson Provider Technologies and our commercial supporters Merck, Novartis and AstraZeneca. Please thank all of those who supported our organization and be sure to spend time in the exhibit area at our next meeting!

One of the highlights of the Annual Meeting is the awards presentation. This year did not disappoint! If you have not heard who won the Pharmacist of the Year Award it was the ICHP Educational Affairs Division Director, Michael Fotis! Michael has been a cheerleader for students and residents his entire career. He has precepted hundreds of students and residents from the Midwest and receives numerous accolades from his protÉgÉs who attribute many of their successes to his guidance and mentorship. Mike is currently Manager for Drug Information and Drug Use Policy, and the Residency Program Director at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He has had a significant impact on medication use in the hospital through his work with the Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee. One of the roles he enjoys most is planning and attending the Great Lakes Residency Conference where he has helped to guide young practitioners in research and presentation skills. Michael has been on both sides of the healthcare spectrum – as provider and as patient. He shares both his experiences with us as a gift to make us better people and practitioners. Michael is well deserving of this distinguished recognition!

The Outstanding Volunteer Award is presented by the Executive Committee to the volunteer leader of ICHP who has stepped up and made an excellent effort and outstanding accomplishments on behalf of the Council. The 2009 recipient is Tom Westerkamp (pictured on the left). Tom is a Medical Information Manager with Baxter Healthcare Corporation, leading a team that answers questions on parenteral nutrition products and compounding devices. But Tom’s outstanding efforts come from his dedication and effort as the Director of Marketing Affairs for ICHP. Tom and the division members continue to survey new members at the 9 month mark to determine what ICHP needs to do in order to serve and retain new members better. His division worked towards establishing an ICHP Leadership program for younger practitioners who seek additional training in this area.

The 2009 ICHP New Practitioner Leadership Award went to Jaime Borkowski (pictured on the left). Jaime graduated from Butler University College of Pharmacy in 2005 and completed a residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She has served as the President of the Rock Valley Society of Health-System Pharmacists for the past several years. Jaime has shown her commitment to ICHP and the profession of pharmacy by serving on the division of Professional Affairs since shortly after becoming a member of ICHP. Jaime has led several of the division’s projects over the past three years and now as its director is responsible for all of its activities.

The President’s Award is selected solely by the President and recognizes a member of the Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists for contributions to the Council during their presidential term. Avery Spunt presented this award to Kathy Komperda. Kathy graduated from the UIC College of Pharmacy Class of 2004 and completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency with a Focus on Education at Midwestern University (MWU) Chicago College of Pharmacy. She is currently an Assistant Professor at MWU and a Clinical Pharmacist at Mercy Family Health Center. Kathy’s most recent role in ICHP is as its Secretary. This award was presented for Kathy’s outstanding service to the ICHP Board, and the ICHP Student Chapter at MWU over the past year.

The second annual ICHP Best Practice Award was presented by Henri Manasse to Dr. Sandra Salverson and Dr. Karin Terry. Drs. Salverson and Terry’s submission is titled: “Leading Medication Safety through the Use of Microsystem and Macrosystem Medication Safety Officers”. Dr. Salverson is the Medication Safety Officer (Macrosystem) and Dr. Terry is the Medication Safety Officer (Microsystem) at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL. Their department received a monetary award and each received a plaque recognizing their achievement.

Though the 2009 Annual Meeting was just a moment in time, the value it provided will be displayed in the lessons learned and the impact those lessons have on improving patient care. The picture is not one photographic cell, but a collage of experiences and connections. If you were not able to attend, copies of the handouts are still available on the ICHP website to view at http://www.ichpnet.org/resources/events/AM09/Handouts/handouts.php. Be sure to look at the 2009 Annual Meeting photo gallery at ichpnet.org.

Plans are already underway for the ICHP Spring Meeting. Join your colleagues to “Unleash the Power: Racing Toward Practice Excellence” in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois on March 26-27, 2010.

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