The annual meeting of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) was held from Dec. 2 to 6 in Anaheim, California, and attracted more than 20,000 participants from around the world, including pharmacy specialists, technicians, and other health care professionals. The conference featured educational sessions covering the newest trends in pharmaceutical research and providing insight into effective and safe medication use.
During an educational session, Matthew Malachowski, Pharm.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System, provided insight into specialty pharmacy services. He acknowledged that health systems with embedded retail and specialty pharmacy services are uniquely equipped and organized to remove friction between the patient and the treatment they need and increase the chances of successful patient outcomes.
"Specialty pharmacy agents and the disease states they treat are exceedingly complex, with numerous barriers to optimal patient outcomes, including administrative friction between the patient and the treatments they need. By effectively employing the unique skills of a variety of health care professionals and support staff, these patients can safely and effectively navigate their plan of care from diagnosis to treatment to improved quality of life and decreased system utilization," Malachowski said. "It is only through effective communication, documentation, and standardized care processes that this technical expertise can be truly brought to bear."
Malachowski suggests that a care team should not be afraid to come together and discuss roles and responsibilities, professional skills, processes, and preferred routes of communication for patient health information.
"Where possible, utilize an electronic medical record, which allows the entire care team to embed and retrieve health information and follows the patient through transitions of care," Malachowski said. "When correctly utilized, pharmacy services can improve patient safety, operational efficiency, and institutional revenue."