Experts call for larger pharmacist role in medication management

Pharmacists should be able to tap into a resident's full electronic health record as a way to improve care, industry experts said Tuesday during the Long Term and Post Acute Care Health IT Summit in Baltimore.

“What we really have to do is change the process,” said Frank Grosso, RPh, the executive director and COO at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists.

Pharmacists need a way to document medications and tap into the facility system in a bi-directional format, added ASCP's Arnold Clayman, PD, FASCP.

“Pharmacists should be looking at the diagnosis, checking the [live blood analysis] work and looking at the progress notes,” he said.

But skilled care facilities are hurting themselves by limiting pharmacists' access to electronic health records, Clayman warned. Ideally, a facility's system is web-accessible and the pharmacist can review remotely. Otherwise, a pharmacist has to sit at a nursing station to use the desktop computer, he noted.

Planning for medication management technology was also was the topic addressed by Center for Aging Services Technologies Majd Alwan, Ph.D.

“Medication therapy management is broader than medication therapy review,” he said. “We want to see enhanced adherence of those plans.”

One tool is CAST's Medication Management matrix. In one case study, Epiphany Assisted Living's Terri Pratt discussed using the Eldermark EMAR system to reduce medication errors. The real-time monitoring allowed managers and nurses to see what was happening with medication administration, including whether medications were given.

“We do a comprehensive care plan with the EMAR. We provide the record for all medication management. For us it is a complete tool,” Pratt said.  She noted the community's med error rate in 2013 was 191 errors a year. After EMAR implementation in 2014 it decreased to 31 errors. In 2015 it is trending lower than 2014, she said.

The LTCPAC HIT conference concluded Tuesday.