Patient safety—a valued priority that has long existed in the educational training provided by Drake’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences—has gained increasing national attention with the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
“The move in healthcare right now is to reimburse providers for quality and value, not the number of prescriptions they fill, or how many procedures they complete,” says Tim Welty, professor of pharmacy practice and chair of the clinical sciences department.
Rather than observe the changes from the sidelines—which is never the approach for Drake faculty—Welty connected with the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC), an organization founded by physician Tom Evans, M.D., LA’77, GR’81, that is committed to monitoring the quality of healthcare in Iowa.
“I want alumni to know we are part of a great initiative,” says Welty. “Not only are we involved, we’re helping lead the conversation.”
Welty was asked to join the medication safety committee by Evans, president and CEO of the IHC.
“I found there was a missing piece to this puzzle and it was the pharmacy schools,” says Evans. “When I invited Tim to be part of the committee, he and Drake embraced this hook, line, and sinker. Tim’s presence has been enthusiastic.”
As part of the committee, Welty and Evans are working with other healthcare providers to identify best practices for raising the standard of care in Iowa. The two primary goals of the committee are: 1) to reduce readmissions to the hospital (within 30 days) by 20 percent over a three-year period, and 2) to reduce hospital acquired conditions in a list of ten areas by 40 percent over a three-year period.
The group will develop a plan by collecting data on drugs that are known for having complications like Warfarin (an anticoagulant medication that helps to prevent new blood clots from forming) and drugs that are used to treat diabetes. The group is also targeting narcotics and other pain reliving medications.
“Several studies have identified that you don’t have to work on every single medication to reduce harm,” explains Evans. “As a matter of fact, about 70 percent of the national harm is really only tied to three drug classes: anticoagulation medications, glycemic management, and narcotics.”
In a collaborative effort, the committee will track their performances, identifying situations in which the use of one of their targeted drugs resulted in an unintended consequence.
“Drake is in a great position to help leverage this initiative,” says Welty. “We have an excellent network of preceptors that not only can help our students learn about the importance of patient safety, but can also help us with data collection and growing a larger network of providers committed to advancing medication safety in the state.”