Late Breaking News
Sea of Change: Coast Guard Pharmacy Cont.
- Categorized in: August 2011
Studies have shown that patient therapies and outcomes improve when pharmacists are engaged as part of the patient’s medical team by validating prescription and over-the-counter medication use and making timely recommendations. Smoking cessation and dietary supplements are other untapped areas in which Coast Guard pharmacists will become engaged as part of the patient’s overall health treatment plan. Although many details are still in the working stage for this more specialized counseling and monitoring, it is clear that Coast Guard pharmacists will be key partners in patient care.
The Coast Guard also is in the development stage of the patient’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The award-winning Epic EMR is known for being fast and physician-friendly, and Epic is working with the Coast Guard to develop this innovative product for use throughout our clinics and sickbays. Epic’s pharmacy ambulatory software, Willow, has been in use since January at non-military facilities. Creating the Coast Guard’s pharmacy package has presented some unexpected challenges that have required some modifications to the established software.
In addition, the Coast Guard’s software will include an inventory component that will assist in improved product management. Coast Guard providers will be able to access patient records, enter prescriptions, order laboratory tests and communicate with other providers and patients at the touch of a button. Information will be available in real time, providing the patient with mobile and immediately accessible comprehensive medical records. Although pharmacy personnel have enjoyed the benefits of collective prescription dispensing even under their current system, access to laboratory results and physician comments were unavailable unless an actual patient medical record was forwarded to the pharmacy for review.
The Coast Guard’s Pharmacy Program is moving forward to meet the needs of its patients with steady momentum. Coast Guard pharmacists are well trained to meet these changing requirements and are looking forward to the new horizons that will be met as change integrates into the Coast Guard’s healthcare system of the 21st century.
Capt. Thomson is Pharmacy Chief USCG and Pharmacy Program Coordinator/Consultant Chief, Quality and Performance Improvement Division