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Pharmacy Shines Amid COVID Darkness

Pharmacy Practice News discusses how health-system pharmacies continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic according to experts including Jawad Saleh, PharmD, pharmacist at HSS.

Saleh explained automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) were particularly helpful in identifying key workflow modifications during COVID-19. “These [ADCs] need to be strategically placed in clean areas, with the goal of decreasing pharmacy staff exposure and decreasing medication contamination,” he noted.

Medication bundling, the practice which involves consolidating medication times together to help limit how often nurses need to enter and exit patient rooms, was another key strategy for Saleh and his colleagues during the pandemic, and one which they continue to employ. When done correctly, medication bundling “helps minimize health care professionals’ exposure to the virus, limit contamination and conserve PPE,” said Saleh. “At our hospital, for example, our medication times were 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. You can piggyback your scheduling based on time-sensitive medications that must be given priority, such as antibiotic or drugs for Parkinson’s disease. So if there’s a Parkinson’s medication that must be given at 7 a.m., then you’d stack everything at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. And when you have known drug–drug interactions, separate those medications based on the chosen time slots,” he added.

Additionally, before recommending infection prophylaxis, Saleh advised pharmacists to confer with the hospital’s infectious disease service about regimens that minimize exposure. He recommended that hospitals consider increased jurisdiction for pharmacists to be allowed to make some of these changes automatically in light of the pandemic. “You are protecting everyone on your clinical staff—medical, nursing and pharmacy—by bundling and minimizing the frequency of people going into and out of the rooms of patients with COVID-19,” he cited.

Read the full article at Pharmacypracticenews.com.