On Dec. 3, an interprofessional team led by pharmacists at UNC Medical Center received the 2017 Award for Excellence in Medication Safety from the ASHP Foundation and the Cardinal Health Foundation for its work improving the care of patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The award is the only one of its kind for pharmacist-led interprofessional teams and offers $50,000 for first place.
Kalynn Rohde, Pharm.D., medical ICU clinical pharmacist, was the project lead.
HIT is a rare and serious complication of heparin administration. People with HIT who continue to receive heparin can enter a hypercoagulable state where the blood clots more easily. This state creates an increased risk for deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and stroke.
The UNC Medical Center took a five-pronged approach to improving the care of patients with suspected or confirmed HIT. Their efforts significantly reduced the incidence of heparin product administration while HIT testing was pending. Additionally, the approach increased the rate at which heparin allergies were documented appropriately at discharge. Overall, the team built on established patient-care processes, made vital improvements using modest resources and improved safety for patients with suspected or confirmed HIT.
“Our team is very excited about this award and the opportunities it will provide for us to expand our medication safety initiative,” Rohde said. “This grant will allow us to improve patient safety locally and hopefully nationally.”
Rohde said the team plans to expand the program to other hospitals in the UNC Health Care system and would like to create a registry for HIT patients so providers can see the details for each patient’s diagnosis as they receive care across multiple institutions.
The winning team members include:
- Lindsey Amerine, Pharm.D., M.S., associate director of infusion at the medication assistance program and investigational drug services and an associate professor of clinical education at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy;
- Sheh-Li Chen, Pharm.D., benign hematology clinical pharmacist and assistant professor of clinical education at the School;
- Jonathan Cicci, Pharm.D., cardiology clinical pharmacist;
- Jennifer Emory, M.S.N., chair of the nursing practice council;
- Raj Kasthuri, M.D., M.P.H., special coagulation laboratory director;
- Laura Mincemoyer, Pharm.D., previous cardiology clinical pharmacist;
- Marian Rollins-Raval, M.D., M.P.H., special coagulation laboratory director;
- Scott Savage, Pharm.D., M.S., regional director of pharmacy at UNC Medical Center and Chatham Hospital and assistant professor of clinical education at the School;
- Jennifer Stegall, Pharm.D., pharmacy informatics pharmacist;
- Andrew Stivers, Pharm.D., previous medication safety officer;
- Kayla Waldron, Pharm.D., M.S., assistant director of pharmacy at Acute and Ambulatory Care Clincal Services and an adjunct assistant professor at the School.