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VA Maryland Health Care System


VA MD Pharmacy Service Awarded

Award-winning pharmacists at the VA Maryland Health Care System.

Pictured from left to right are Lakshmi Singh, Karen Korch Black, and Mallory Accursi, VA Maryland Health Care System pharmacy staff displaying the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) 2013 Best Practice Awards plaque they received recently at the Society’s national mid-year meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System's Pharmacy Service, among five other health care organizations nationwide, is the recipient of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) 2013 Best Practice Award presented during their recent national mid-year meeting in Orlando, Fla.  Sharing the honor with the VA Maryland Health Care System are the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Harper University Hospital in Detroit, Mich.; Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colo.; Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia Pa., and Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Milwaukee, Wis. 

The ASHP Best Practices Award in health system pharmacy is an annual recognition program developed and awarded by ASHP and sponsored by Amgen, a pharmaceutical manufacturer.  Since 1999, this award program has recognized outstanding practitioners in health system pharmacy who have successfully implemented innovative systems that demonstrate best practices in health system pharmacy.

Pharmacy Service at the VA Maryland Health Care System was recognized by the ASHP for the implementation of clinical video telehealth (CVT) anticoagulation services for Veteran patients in remote locations.  Some Veterans live many miles from a VA medical center, making visits to their VA physicians an all-day event.  Others with chronic conditions or who require medication or dosage monitoring also find it difficult to make frequent visits to a VA medical center located a considerable distance from their homes. 

This new technology allows pharmacists to monitor a course of drug therapy for Veterans at their local VA outpatient clinics from other locations such as a VA medical center through videoconferencing.  Medical information can be transferred by way of specially designed telecommunications equipment.  VA research results suggest that CVT is an effective alternative to face-to-face visits without compromising the quality of medication therapy management services.

"It is very gratifying to be among a select group to receive this award that recognizes how our clinical pharmacy specialists are leveraging CVT technology to provide anticoagulation services," said Dr. Eugene M. de Lara, chief of Pharmacy Service for the VA Maryland Health Care System.  "During my past experience in the U.S. Navy Pharmacy, similar technology was primarily used for remote prescription verification and distribution purposes.  So, this highlights just another one of the ways the VA Maryland Health Care System is moving forward in providing clinical pharmacy services to Veterans."

"This technology has optimized Pharmacy workforce efficiency and has opened the doors to implementing new clinical pharmacy services through a different mode of delivery for anticoagulation medication therapy management for Veterans," said Dr. Andrea Searle, Pharmacy Executive for the VA Capitol Health Care Network, which includes VA health care facilities in Maryland, Washington, DC, and West Virginia.

 "We are excited that members of our Pharmacy service have been selected for the American Society of Health System Pharmacists Best Practice Award for their CVT Anticoagulation Program," said Dennis H. Smith, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System.  "This CVT initiative has been a multidisciplinary effort and it is a testament to the members of Pharmacy service and their fellow VA clinical staff who have worked collaboratively to provide excellent patient-centric services through new and innovative treatment modalities." 


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