How 3 pharmacy leaders are using lessons learned from COVID-19 to prepare for future pandemics

It sort of highlighted some of our weaknesses and difficulties we required to improve in terms of that communication. Going forward, we certainly have a closer relationship with our emergency situation management team and have in fact started a strategy and are looking not just for the COVID pandemic however emergency management overall.

In addition, we likewise began to utilize our pharmacists remotely, where they were able to confirm prescriptions from home and do things a little bit various than we generally do. And these instances where were going direct to manufacturer, contracting, pushing out to the websites, working with additional pharmacy students, those are all things now that we have in location that were going to continue to continue to enhance the drug store service line in the future, along with assistance any revival activity that happens.

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Concern: Given the obstacles or opportunities in pharmacy services that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, what changes can you foresee working in health system pharmacy in the future to develop a pandemic preparedness model?.

Not just did we have our own personnel that was impacted by COVID, we also had a surge in volume, and with that surge in volume, we needed additional resources. And we have a couple of schools in the New York city location, and we employed 30 pharmacy interns within 2 weeks due to the fact that all the schools were closed at that time. And then we released those pharmacy interns throughout our network in order to support the needs that we had, especially as we were broadening that capacity during that time.

We actually had to be nimble in terms of addressing the various treatments that were coming up and what we were hearing, not only internally within our system, but from our colleagues throughout New York City, where we were at one point the center. The most significant obstacle for us is knowing what method to take in drug store and being straight included with the clinicians, both operationally and scientifically, to make that decision.

Again, with telepharmacy, were able to do shared staffing and actually look at how we can flex up our labor swimming pool and be creative and bring innovation into this. As additional crises come up, with the establishment of our command centers, the establishment of these shared services, we can learn from each other, and then disseminate that information in a sped up format.

Pharmacy leaders from hospitals across the nation are utilizing what they have actually found out during the COVID-19 pandemic to establish pandemic preparedness models..

The greatest obstacle for us is knowing what approach to take in pharmacy and being directly included with the clinicians, both operationally and clinically, to make that decision.

The obstacles and lessons gained from the COVID-19 pandemic was among the topics experts talked about during a session at the Beckers Healthcare Pharmacy Virtual Event on Sept. 22. The panel included:.

Going forward, we definitely have a closer relationship with our emergency situation management team and have in fact started a strategy and are looking not simply for the COVID pandemic but emergency situation management overall.

And we have a couple of schools in the New York metro area, and we hired 30 pharmacy interns within 2 weeks since all the schools were closed at that time. And then we released those drug store interns across our network in order to support the needs that we had, especially as we were broadening that capability throughout that time. When we had our system and drug store rehabs committee, we were able to make fast changes and share that information rapidly to all of our service providers or nurses and drug stores.

In addition to that, our main buyer drug store purchaser had the ability to have routine day-to-day interactions with all of our hospitals concerning a few of the drug lacks with our neuromuscular blockers and just doing various things that were required. It was actually fantastic to see how a main shared services had the ability to do a great deal of the front-end work to permit a few of our suppliers and frontline pharmacists to do what they needed.

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Onisis Stefas, PharmD, vice president and chief pharmacy officer at New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health.
Joseph Pinto, executive director of drug store operations at New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System.
Adrian Gonzales, PharmD, system director of main pharmacy services at Roseville, Calif.-based Adventist Health.

Heres an excerpt from the discussion, modified for clarity. To see the full session on-demand, click here..

Dr. Adrian Gonzales: When a tough or pandemic scenarios comes our instructions, it absolutely opens up doors for development and doing things differently. When we had our system and pharmacy rehabs committee, we were able to make quick modifications and share that information rapidly to all of our service providers or nurses and drug stores.

Dr. Onisis Stefas: At one point, we were treating the biggest variety of COVID patients in the nation, and it was an amazing experience. Some of the difficulties were truly around supply chain. A great deal of people were discussing vents, but individuals werent speaking about the medications required for the vents. And as we were all pulling from the very same distributors in the very same areas, it became really quickly evident that we needed to come up with a different solution. So, we leveraged a lot of the relationships that we had with the numerous different pharmaceutical business and established contracts and relationships bypassing the wholesalers, who we were essentially on allotment with, and getting direct shipments from the pharmaceutical companies directly into the organization. We likewise looked at our usage rate and our burn rates. And after that from there, we brought it into a main repository warehouse. We really pushed it out to the numerous different locations based on need. This permitted us to develop specific efficiency around the supply chain and get the vital medications required where it was required most, which was very useful.