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Press Release

ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting Hits the Right Note in New Orleans

Strategies for implementing computerized prescriber order entry systems, improving adherence to medication therapy, and preventing drug counterfeiting and diversion were just a few of the topics covered during the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ (ASHP’s) 38th Midyear Clinical Meeting in New Orleans, December 7-11, 2003.  More than 18,000 pharmacists, other health professionals, and pharmaceutical industry exhibitors were “jazzed up” by the myriad of educational, networking, and career advancement opportunities available at the largest annual international gathering of pharmacists.

The meeting’s Opening General Session on December 8 featured the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a working group of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP).  The MOA defines how the DHS and the pharmacy organizations will work together to develop and implement pharmacist response units for disaster relief efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).

The five-day meeting featured more than 70 educational sessions covering a broad range of practice topics, including a session that looked at the implications of the newly enacted Medicare reform law.  The session featured American Enterprise Institute scholar Joseph R. Antos, Ph.D., and Kathleen M. Cantwell, Esq., director of ASHP’s federal legislative activities, who reviewed the new law and discussed the pharmacy-related provisions. 

The Society’s member sections were instrumental in developing the meeting’s content, which offered attendees an in-depth look at some of the profession’s most pressing issues.  A two-part session on improving patients’ adherence to drug therapy was planned by the ASHP Section of Clinical Specialists and Scientists.  Practitioners involved in alternate-site care took advantage of a “supertrack” of programming featuring three six-hour programs that focused on evidence-based approaches for parenteral nutrition and diabetes and pain management planned by the ASHP Section of Home, Ambulatory, and Chronic Care Practitioners.  The ASHP Section of Pharmacy Practice Managers, the Pharmacy Student Forum, and the New Practitioner and Residents Forum also contributed to the meeting’s rich educational content.

Meeting attendees showed considerable interest in improving patient safety using technology and flocked to sessions on implementing computerized prescriber order entry systems.  Other popular sessions included a preview of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations’ new survey process, the role of pharmacists in emergency preparedness, an overview of the toxicology of substance abuse, and innovative uses of pharmacy technicians.

Other meeting highlights included the following:

  • More than 2,750 students meeting participated in meeting activities, including specialized programming, a leadership development session and the eighth annual National Clinical Skills Competition. Stephanie Burge Hollowell and Sarah Ford of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill won the competition, which helps students prepare for their roles as patient care providers.  Seventy-five schools and colleges of pharmacy participated in the competition. 
  •  Students interested in postgraduate training took advantage of the meeting’s Residency Showcase, which featured preceptors and residents from more than 500 ASHP-accredited residency programs.
  • Nearly 1,634 contributed papers were presented on a wide range of topics, including developing leadership skills, medication safety, alternative medicines, roles for pharmacy technicians, and the results of projects demonstrating the value of clinical pharmacy services.
  • ASHP’s career development service, CareerPharm’s PPS, the most extensive on-site interviewing and placement service available in the profession, hosted more than 1,500 applicants and employers looking to fill 832 positions.
  • An impressive display of the latest technologies and pharmaceutical products and services were showcased in the exhibit hall.  Nearly 350 companies participated in the exhibit program with 1,283 booths.

Click here to see the meeting photo gallery.

ASHP is the 32,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, ambulatory care clinics, 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, or