Temple Times Online Edition
    DECEMBER 15, 2005
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Reducing blood clot risk in hospital patients

Taking part in the award-winning patient safety program at Jeanes Hospital were (standing, L-R:) Temple pharmacy alumna Melissa Ranieri, Pharm.D. intern Kseniya Timofeyeva, chair of pharmacy and therepeutics at Jeanes Hospital John Woodward, Pharm.D. intern Laeticia Ifeanyi, clinical director of pharmacy at Jeanes George Miller, distributive director of pharmacy Laila Elkadi, Temple pharmacy alumna Natalia Wesley, and staff pharmacist Connie Byron, as well as (seated:) director of pharmacy at Jeanes Inga Galunic and Temple clinical pharmacy associate professor Patrick McDonnell.

After learning that most hospital patients at risk of dangerous blood clots were not receiving optimal drug treatment, a team of Temple pharmacists and students embarked on a study that ultimately gave birth to a new award-winning patient safety program at Jeanes Hospital, part of Temple University Health System.

Led by Patrick McDonnell, Pharm.D., associate professor of clinical pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy, the team first studied the impact of pharmacist intervention through education and collaboration with physicians and nurses. Because all of the healthcare providers became more focused on who was at risk for blood clots, as well as which medications and treatments reduced the risk, the incidence decreased significantly.

From there, the team developed a simple form, placed in all patient charts, that helps doctors pinpoint a patient's risk for blood clots and lists the drugs patients can take to lower that risk. Pharmacists and pharmacy students monitor the program to ensure that all who need medication to prevent blood clots are getting it.

Recently, the program, which has been adopted hospitalwide at Jeanes, earned the Delaware Valley Health Care Council's 2005 Medication Safety Award. McDonnell expects that programs like Temple's will be adopted by the national hospital accrediting agency as an additional means to improve patient safety.  

Blood clots, the leading cause of preventable death and disease in hospital patients, are a threat to patients who are immobile or elderly. Other risk factors for blood clots include infection, heart failure, pneumonia, obesity, heart attack, recent surgery and certain drugs, such as birth control pills.

Other members of the team were George Miller, R.Ph., clinical pharmacy manager at Jeanes; former Pharm.D. students Cynthia Oliva and Dennis Constan; and John Woodward, M.D., chair of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee at Jeanes. McDonnell presented their work at the recent American College of Clinical Pharmacists meeting. He is director of the pharmacy student clinical rotation at Jeanes.

- Eryn Jelesiewicz