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2/13/2003
Press Release

Pharmacists Key Ingredient In Latest Institute of Medicine Report

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) applauds the most recent report of the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) which identifies medication management as a national priority and points to the critical role pharmacists play in monitoring patients’ drug therapy. 

The report, Priority Areas for Quality Improvement:  Transforming Health Care Quality, calls for greater involvement of pharmacists in patient care to help prevent dangerous adverse drug events.  Numerous studies have shown that when pharmacists participate in direct patient care, fewer medication errors and adverse drug events are experienced.  The IOM points to a 1998 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that found a 77 percent reduction in medication errors when pharmacists were included on the patient care team.

“Pharmacists are a critical element for protecting patients,” said Debra Devereaux, MBA, FASHP, ASHP President.  “Numerous studies have shown that having a pharmacist as part of the patient care team can make a tremendous difference for patients’ health.  It’s time for all health systems to fully apply the pharmacists’ vast medication knowledge throughout the patient care process.”

The IOM report names twenty areas as priorities for quality improvement.  “Pharmacists can contribute vital assistance in most of these areas,” notes Devereaux.  “Medication is integral to so many of the health care needs identified by the IOM.  With the multitude of complex medications available today, it’s more important than ever that pharmacists work closely with patients and their physicians.”

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 professional practice, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.  For more information, visit ASHP’s Web site, www.ashp.org.