UF College of Pharmacy wins three national awards from ASHP Foundation

On one of pharmacy’s biggest stages, the University of Florida College of Pharmacy demonstrated its excellence in research publications and medication safety taking home three prestigious awards from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, or ASHP, Foundation. The awards were presented in December during the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting, the nation’s largest gathering of pharmacists with more than 25,000 attendees. UF’s award winners included:

  • The UF Health Precision Medicine Program was presented a 2018 Finalist Award for Excellence in Medication Safety.
  • Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, Pharm.D., M.S., FAHA, FACC, an associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research, was awarded the 2018 Award for Sustained Contributions to the Literature.
  • Almut Winterstein, R.Ph., Ph.D., FISPE, a professor and the Dr. Robert and Barbara Crisafi Chair of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, was selected for the 2018 Pharmacy Practice Research Literature Award.

UF Health’s Precision Medicine Program named a national finalist for ASHP’s Excellence in Patient Safety award

Personalized Medicine Program
Members of the UF Health Precision Medicine Program

An innovative program launched at UF Health that is improving patient outcomes through pharmacogenetic testing has been recognized with a 2018 Finalist Award for Excellence in Patient Safety by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, or ASHP, Foundation.

UF Health’s Precision Medicine Program received the award Dec. 2 at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, California.

Since its inception in 2011, the Precision Medicine Program has led the launch of genetic testing to assist doctors with prescribing safer and more effective medications for their patients, contributed to a growing evidence base in support of genotype-guided therapy and developed multiple education programs that are training current and future providers in precision medicine. The program has addressed several patient safety initiatives at UF Health by improving patient outcomes through better-informed medication prescribing and reducing adverse drug effects.

More than 4,600 clinical pharmacogenomics tests have been ordered at UF Health hospitals in Gainesville and Jacksonville. Testing currently extends from patients in primary care to cardiology, psychiatry, surgery and other health services. Recent efforts have expanded testing outside UF Health, as the program has partnered with Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium in Orlando and Nemours Children’s Health System to help facilitate implementation of pharmacogenetics testing in their health system.

“In seven years, we have made great strides in demonstrating the patient safety benefits that occur when genetic testing results become a routine part of patient care,” said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D. dean and distinguished professor of the UF College of Pharmacy and director of the UF Health Precision Medicine Program. “Being recognized by the ASHP Foundation for our patient safety efforts is incredibly rewarding and provides motivation to continue our work in seeking a broader implementation of pharmacogenetics testing.”

Created in 2004 as a collaboration between the ASHP Foundation and Cardinal Health, the Award for Excellence in Medication Safety is a nationally acclaimed award program that recognizes a pharmacist-led inter-professional team for its significant system-wide improvements relating to medication use with demonstrated patient and organizational outcomes. The award is the only national honor that recognizes a pharmacist-led interprofessional team for implementing significant system-wide improvements related to medication safety in a hospital or health system.

Dr. Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff honored for sustained contributions to literature

Rhonda M Cooper-DeHoffFor her more than three decades of contributions to biomedical literature, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, or ASHP, Foundation awarded its 2018 Award for Sustained Contributions to the Literature to UF College of Pharmacy Associate Professor Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff. The award was presented Dec. 5 at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, California.

Cooper-DeHoff has published more than 170 peer-reviewed articles during her three decades as an academic writer. Her research interests include pharmacogenetics, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. She has published in some of the most respected medical journals in her field, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, Nature, Hypertension and the Journal of the American Heart Association. Among her most cited research articles was a 2010 publication in JAMA evaluating outcomes among diabetics with hypertension and coronary disease. This paper showed that in high risk population, lowering blood pressure too much can result in increased adverse outcomes, including death.

In addition to her associate professor role in the UF College of Pharmacy, Cooper-DeHoff, Pharm.D., M.S., FAHA, FACC, serves an associate professor in the division of cardiovascular medicine in the UF College of Medicine and associate director for the UF College of Pharmacy’s Center for Pharmacogenomics. She is recognized a Fellow of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. In the past decade, she has won numerous national awards recognizing her contributions to research and literature.

ASHP Foundation’s Award for Sustained Contributions is presented annually to a pharmacist who has a track record for publishing high quality and impactful biomedical literature for a minimum of 20 years. The ASHP Foundation has been presenting the award since 1971, and Cooper-DeHoff is the first UF College of Pharmacy awardee since Charles Hepler, Ph.D., in 1997.

Novel risk score to prevent adverse drug events wins ASHP Pharmacy Practice Research Award

A novel risk score that uses electronic health record data to project the risk for adverse drug events in hospitalized patients received the 2018 Pharmacy Practice Research Award at the ASHP Midyear meeting in Anaheim, December 5.

Almut Winterstein Headshot_webASHP Foundation bestows the award annually to an outstanding original contribution in peer-reviewed biomedical literature related to pharmacy practice in hospitals and health systems. This year’s award was presented to a group of researchers from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy and the UF Health Shands Hospital.

The risk score, tied into electronic health records, or EHRs, calculates the risk for 16 severe adverse drug events in the early morning to focus clinicians on patients who need enhanced medication therapy management. Using more than 300 distinct clinical characteristics from the EHR, the score guides clinicians to patients at greatest need. For example, by just focusing on the top 5 percent of patients ranked according to their risk for severe hypoglycemia, more than half of all patients who will experience hypoglycemia are captured.

A key difference between this risk score and traditional clinical decision support systems is its holistic approach. Common tools are action-specific, alerting clinicians about a particular error such as an overdose or a drug-drug interaction.

“Our score doesn’t alert you that particular action is wrong. It actually alerts you about the aggregate of all of the actions and factors that may jointly escalate the risk for an adverse drug event for a particular patient,” said principal investigator Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., a professor and The Dr. Robert and Barbara Crisafi Chair of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy. “Because it considers this plethora of risk factors, the score avoids false alerts and instead ranks patients according to their probability for an adverse event.”

The ranking approach aims to cut down on alert fatigue, which occurs when clinicians become bombarded with irrelevant alerts, causing them to miss important ones.

“The issue with these types of alerts is sensitivity and specificity, so if you take all the alerts that live online in these databases, they cover a lot but 90 percent may not be clinically relevant,” Winterstein said. “For example, there are a lot of drug-drug interactions that theoretically might occur, but in reality, will not.”

A portion of the score that focuses on severe hypo- and hyperglycemia has been implemented at UF Health hospitals in Gainesville and Jacksonville and has proven to reliably predict patients at greatest risk. Evaluations of its effectiveness to reduce the incidence of adverse events are ongoing.

“This research was really the perfect alignment of our prior work and a concrete clinical need that was defined in the ASHP Practice Advancement Initiative,” Winterstein said. The next step in her research is to validate and implement the risk score in other health systems.

Two Orlando students place in top 10 of ASHP Clinical Skills Competition

ASHP Clinical Skills Competition - Amanda and Jennifer
Amanda Al-Bahou, right, and Jennifer Ryder, left, finished in the top 10 of the Clinical Skills Competition at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear 2018 Meeting in Anaheim.

A pair of University of Florida College of Pharmacy students placed top 10 in one of the nation’s most competitive pharmacy competitions. Jennifer Ryder and Amanda Al-Bahou, fourth-year Pharm.D. students from the Orlando campus, finished among the top 10 of 139 teams competing in the Clinical Skills Competition at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Meeting in Anaheim.

The Clinical Skills Competition is an interactive, team-based analysis of clinical scenarios for hospital and health-system pharmacists. Ryder and Al-Bahou were presented with a patient case and had two hours to come up with an evidence-based care plan for the patient. All 139 teams submitted a written care plan, and the top 10 scoring teams advanced to an oral round of the competition. The oral portion featured a two minute presentation, followed by eight minutes of questions from a panel of judges.

Each pharmacy college in the nation was allowed one team in the Clinical Skills Competition. Ryder and Al-Bahou won the honor of representing the UF College of Pharmacy, after competing in a college-wide contest this fall.