Emergency Room Pharmacists in Hospitals:
Emergency Room Pharmacists on staff are a new and exciting trend in the practice of hospital pharmacy across the nation! The pharmacist’s role as an integral member of an Emergency Health Team reflects a rising consensus among national healthcare providers in hospitals and health care systems across the country that such pharmacy positions are a must. Studies are showing that the end result of having a dedicated ER pharmacist as a team member are leading to improved patient care, decreases in medication errors and an overall improvement in patient satisfaction and care. According to a 2009 study conducted at the University of New Mexico, the presence of pharmacists in the university hospital’s emergency room reduced the incidence of medication errors by 27.5 percent. Mindful of these and other similar studies, many hospitals are establishing positions for emergency room pharmacists. “I don’t think you can provide appropriate emergency care without pharmacists present”, states Dr. Meehan, who practices primarily at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago. “I find them to be an indispensable team member”. Although pharmacists have long provided medication consultations to ER healthcare teams, the push for dedicated pharmacist positions within the setting itself is a growing trend.
The benefits of having pharmacists in the ER can be as individual as the care setting and as dynamic as the healthcare problem that a patient is presenting. For example, Dr. Meehan at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago values many of the contributions of his ER pharmacist, including:
- Quickly performing accurate dose calculations and expediting delivery of essential drugs from the central pharmacy during the treatment of stroke or cardiac arrest patients who may need thrombolytic therapy
- The ability to prepare medication doses quickly and accurately during code situation
- The fact that for polypharmacy patients, pharmacists are naturally on heightened alert for the threat of dangerous drug interactions as well as complementary drug combinations. “Those considerations aren’t at the forefront for physicians, but pharmacists are intimately aware of them and able to intervene when necessary,” said Dr. Meehan.
The expansion of ER pharmacy services is just beginning, added Dr. Musselman (who works with the North Kansas City Hospital ER team) “It’s becoming a necessity, and we’ll see the trend accelerate. Accrediting bodies will start asking why a hospital doesn’t have ER pharmacists rather than why they do.”
If you represent a hospital or healthcare system that is considering establishing an in-house Emergency Room Pharmacist position, Healthcare Consultants can help. In the business of Pharmacy Staffing and Pharmacy Consulting for over 25 years now, HCC has been the nation’s leader in the following areas:
- Developing policies and procedures for implementing and maintaining ER Pharmacy positions and duties
- Developing ER Pharmacist job descriptions
- Onsite training and startup of Hospital ER Pharmacies
- Pharmacist Staffing (both permanent and part-time positions)
We offer you the support of an experienced staff who have been through the process many times and know the business inside and out! Call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.