APPE Students Present Research at ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting

Published on 04 March 2021

University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis P4 students Reed Smith, B.S. ’19, Kelsey Corzine, B.S. ’19, Grace Marek, B.S. ‘19, and Davin Minor recently had the opportunity to present research as part of the 2020 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by UHSP preceptor Laura Oster, B.S. ’88, director of pharmacy services at SSM Health Rehabilitation Network, the students co-authored a poster presentation titled, “Assessing the Impact of an Improved Pharmacy Workflow Design on Patient Safety and Continuity of Care,” which shed light on the patient impacts of hospital medication records errors for those who were admitted to the SSM Rehabilitation Hospital in Bridgeton, Missouri.

Prior to the study, the hospital had assigned a full-time, remote pharmacist to find and correct medication errors found on the paperwork of patients who were transitioning from a hospital to SSM’s in-person rehabilitation unit.

The new workflow was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic when the hospital expanded its remote work opportunities, but Oster believed that the benefits of having a full-time pharmacist review patients’ medication records could last beyond the pandemic. The students’ study investigated data to assess whether this new workflow had improved patient care and hospital operations.

“This was a significant research project in which my students demonstrated that when pharmacists are included in the patient admission process, patients receive better care,” explained Oster. “Previously, doctors and nurses at SSM Rehabilitation Hospital would work after hours to correct medication records errors found on patient intake information. This study proved that the involvement of a full-time pharmacist in correcting these errors had real, measurable results.”

Oster initiated the study as a project that her rotation students could complete while remaining socially distanced during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the expertise they gained at the University, Oster’s students were able to analyze the data to determine the new workflow’s effects.

“Thanks to this project, hospital administrators realized that, as medication specialists, pharmacists are equipped to quickly correct patients’ medication records,” Oster explained.

The success of the project led Oster to suggest that the students present their research findings during the 2020 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting.

“Medication errors on patient records are a common issue for clinical pharmacists,” Oster explained. “So I knew that my peers would be very interested in the study’s results.”

The students collaborated on their research poster and presentation with guidance from Oster.

“Each of us contributed to the project and worked well as a team,” Smith stated. “We were excited and proud to present our work at the AHSP Midyear meeting.”

Oster emphasized how impressed she was with the students’ professionalism during their time on rotations and as they prepared their Midyear presentation.

“Precepting these students and guiding them through the research process has been very rewarding,” Oster stated. “They each came into the rotation with a remarkable body of knowledge and experience that they gained at the University, and they brought creative insights and problem-solving techniques to this project.”

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