Oct. 16 through 20 is National Pharmacy Week, an annual observance acknowledging the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make to patient care in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics and other healthcare settings.
So, what’s a better time than now to spotlight some of the “under the radar” pharmacy positions at CHOC? Let’s go!
Outpatient Med-to-Bed pharmacist – Alan Chang
CHOC’s Med-to-Bed service brings medications patients will need after they leave the hospital right to their room. There, the pharmacist, like Alan, can provide one-on-one counseling with the patient and their family. It’s convenient, private and rewarding for everyone.
Infectious disease pharmacist – Tuan Tran
In Tuan’s role as an infectious disease pharmacist, his primary daily objective is to ensure patients receive safe and effective antimicrobial therapy. A daily routine may involve direct patient care rounding with our infectious disease consult service, monitoring and intervening on critical alerts such as cultures positive for drug resistant pathogens or from the blood, as well as collaborating with other team members and divisions — such as oncology, pulmonology or surgery — on quality improvement initiatives.
Tuan also works closely with microbiology, infection control and epidemiology teams to track, analyze and share antimicrobial utilization and resistance trends. Tuan is also co-chair of CHOC’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (ASP) program, which works to engage and educate clinicians, trainee, patients and families alike on optimal use of anti-infective to preserve treatment options.
Investigational pharmacist – Winnie Stockton
CHOC currently offers more than 100 clinical trials with investigational drugs. Clinical trials may provide options when there are no treatments approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or when patients are not responding to standard treatments. Additionally, knowledge gained may improve medical care for future patients.
An investigational pharmacist, like Winnie, is responsible for receiving, storing, dispensing and maintaining records for drugs administered in clinical trials. The drugs may not be FDA-approved, and there may be limited drug information available in standard references. Therefore, the investigational pharmacist must use information provided by the clinical trial sponsor to verify appropriate dosing, screen for drug interactions, and guide dose preparation.
When dispensing investigational drugs for randomized, blinded clinical trials, the investigational pharmacist must carefully enter the drug order and label the dose in a manner that will not reveal the assigned treatment arm. In addition to overseeing investigational drug handling, the investigational pharmacist serves as a member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB reviews clinical trials conducted at CHOC to ensure the risks to patients are minimized and patients are well informed of risks and benefits of participation.
Health informatics pharmacist – Tony Dao
Tony is one of four members of CHOC’s pharmacy informatics team. This team serves as specialists at the intersection of healthcare, pharmacy and technology. They leverage the available software and hardware to improve patient safety and patient care, and work on creative solutions for challenging medication safety issues to enhance the medication use process. Some of the technologies used are automation hardware, IV workflow management systems, barcoded medication administration, clinical decision support tools, electronic documentation, billing and custom reporting.