Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF October 19, 2018 | Archived Issues

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Chief Pharmacy Officer Leads Drive For State Law

Rita Shane, PharmD

A new state law requiring hospital pharmacy staff to obtain an accurate medication history for every high-risk patient upon admission is driving change in California hospitals—thanks largely to the support of Cedars-Sinai leadership.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1254 on Sept. 22, 2018.

Rita Shane, PharmD, FASHP, FCSHP, chief pharmacy officer, played a pivotal role in the bill’s success, co-writing it and gaining support from key stakeholders including physicians, patients, the California Hospital Association and the California Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists.

The law is based on research led by Joshua Pevnick, MD, associate director in the Division of Informatics (BMS) and assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, in collaboration with the Pharmacy Department. The research demonstrated that medication errors could be reduced by 80 percent when pharmacists or trained technicians obtain medication lists for high-risk patients. Deborah Kallick, vice president of Governmental Affairs, provided significant guidance through the legislative process.

Having an accurate medication profile not only improves patient safety, it also saves time for nurses and physicians. For example, they don’t have to go back and correct erroneous orders.

"This is a critical patient safety bill since up to 70 percent of patients have medication errors on their medication lists and up to 20 percent of admissions are medication-related," said Shane. "I was inspired to write the bill 20 years ago when my father was transferred to a medical center and errors on his medication history led to a significant adverse reaction, as well as a serious infection."

"The best care is delivered by physicians, pharmacists and nurses working together as a three-legged stool," Shane added. "Senate Bill 1254 ensures every medical center in California, not just Cedars-Sinai, is working together to achieve patient safety and leveraging pharmacy staff for the most high-risk patients."

DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2017-006761