One of the most important members of a hospital healthcare team is someone patients may not even see: a clinical pharmacist. “Our responsibilities are diverse,” says Evelyn Chu, PharmD, Pharmacy Director for Henderson Hospital. “We evaluate physicians’ medication orders for accuracy and appropriateness. We might suggest alternative medications that could reduce a patient’s risk of falling or being confused.”
Antibiotic usage is constantly monitored, according to Cindy Derouin, PharmD, Pharmacy Director for Valley Hospital. “More people are becoming resistant to antibiotics,” says Derouin. “As a prevention measure, we have a designated pharmacist who will review antibiotic prescriptions for appropriate use and make suggestions to reduce utilization.”
The pharmacy team also maintains the medication database to minimize the risk of choosing a wrong medication or wrong dose. They track drug recalls and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings, and remove those drugs from the pharmacy inventory. Tracking drug shortages is another key function since they must prioritize the available supply and work with physicians to determine alternative therapies.