ASHP Midyear Hits Jackpot in Las Vegas with Record Attendance, Innovative Programming
The meeting's Opening General Session featured a unique drama production that focused on the wide-ranging effects of a medication error on a pediatric patient, his family, and the health care professionals involved in his care. Compelling testimonials from pharmacists, nurses, physicians, and administrators about ways that they have renovated their medication-use systems to reduce error followed the drama presentation. The session's highlight was a heartfelt and articulate account by health care executive Kevin Roberg whose young daughter experienced several serious medication errors while undergoing treatment for cancer.
Medication-error prevention was a popular topic at educational sessions as well, with standing-room only crowds at sessions on the role of certified pharmacy technicians in error prevention, the pharmacist's role in improving patient safety in perioperative settings, and using new technology and automation to prevent errors.
The Society also announced several new patient safety initiatives at the meeting, including a partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) that will offer a series of six medication safety issue briefs in AHA's Hospitals & Health Networks. The first two briefs in the series, which is sponsored by McKesson HBOC, will be "Leadership: Creating a Culture of Safety" and "The Safe Use of Automation."
The Midyear also featured programming that looked at the current and future applications of genomics in patient care. Presenters addressed the ethical, legal, and social implications arising from advances in genomics and discussed how the advances will influence drug discovery and development and the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Other popular educational programs included uses for alternative medicine to treat neurological diseases, dealing effectively with staff shortages, improving outcomes in intensive care units, and strategies for dealing with difficult people.
Other Midyear highlights included:
- More than 3,000 students took part in Midyear activities such as the Residency Showcase, a full day of student programming, and the fifth annual National Clinical Skills Competition. Michael Thomas and Robin Hager-McLaughlin of the University of Arizona--Tucson beat out teams from 63 other schools and colleges of pharmacy to win the competition, which helps students prepare for their roles as patient care providers.
- More than 1,500 contributed papers were presented at the meeting on a wide range of topics, including practice management, alternative medicines, roles for pharmacy technicians, and workforce issues.
- ASHP's Personnel Placement Service, the most extensive on-site interviewing and placement service available in the profession, played host to 1,555 applicants and employers looking to fill more than 900 positions.
- An impressive display of the latest technologies and pharmaceutical products and services were showcased in the exhibit hall. More than 356 companies participated in the exhibit program with 1,331 booths.
ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication-error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.