Beckers InpharmD™ - The University of Maryland Medical System
  • We need more time and how pharmacists can help

    March 23, 2021

    Health systems are like restaurants, managing a fancy sit down dinner while trying to keep up with the increasingly busy takeout window. And during the pandemic, while some specialties have grinded to a halt, most inpatient providers have been stretched very thin.We need more time.

    The number of patients seen by healthcare providers each day has gone up while the time spent per patient has gone down. We’re doing our best to be superhuman for as long as possible— but it’s costing us.

    Our new healthcare normal is measured not by inputs (number of patients seen) but by outcomes achieved, and providers can often achieve greater overall productivity by striving for effectiveness instead of efficiency.

    The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), comprised of 13 hospitals, set out to achieve the benefits of system standardization and efficiency by leveraging pharmacists, one of the highest trained healthcare professionals and perhaps the most underutilized asset on the patient care team, at scale.

    Efforts by clinical pharmacists and the system have allowed UMMS to ensure all patients are treated with the same high quality care at every UMMS hospital. Examples of recent pharmacist-lead standardizations include an inhaler conservation program due to the albuterol HFA shortage, criteria for use for remdesivir, and venous thromboembolism management in COVID-19 patients.

    After standardization is execution. The inhaler standardization was reviewed by the system’s multidisciplinary chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) workgroup and subsequently built into the electronic health record as a COPD pathway that guides providers on patient status, progress, and therapies indicated. This initiative helped decrease variation and waste, and is on track to improve patient outcomes and decrease length of stay.

    Initiatives like this have helped UMMS achieve high quality care, reduce unwarranted variation across the medical system, and reduce unnecessary costs resulting in over 6 million dollars in drug cost savings over the past two years.