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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Coastal Medical Wins the national Pinnacle Award for
innovative pharmacy care management program
URI pharmacy professor plays key role

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Sept. 15, 2000 -- Coastal Medical, Inc., a primary Care physicians group based in Providence, has won a national award for developing its novel pharmacy care programs and strategies.

Coastal Medical was presented the Pinnacle Award by the American Pharmaceutical Association this summer during a dinner in Washington, D.C. Kathleen M. Melbourne, director of the Pharmacy Care Management Program at Coastal and a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, accepted the award on behalf of Coastal. Dr. Melbourne, of Cranston, is also a graduate of URI's College of Pharmacy.

Coastal also has operations in Cranston, East Providence, North Providence and East Greenwich.

"We are truly honored to receive this prestigious national award." Melbourne said. "Our approach places pharmacists in the direct loop of patient care services. Clinical pharmacists, who have expertise in drug therapy management and skills in recognizing potential or actual medication-related problems in individual patients, assist our physicians and other health care providers in optimizing patient outcomes. Our team collaboration has been recognized as a key strategy in decreasing significant morbidity and mortality related to medication use. Importantly, patients are receiving a beneficial service with which they are highly satisfied and recognize as a necessary component of their health care."

"Dr. Melbourne has turned all of the energy that she used to show as a second baseman and top notch hitter on the URI women's softball team into an outstanding, innovative practice teaching site for our students," said Louis Luzzi, dean of URI's College of Pharmacy. "There is no question that she and Coastal Medical are most deserving of this award."

The Pinnacle Awards have been established by the American Pharmaceutical Association through the association's Quality Center and are sponsored by the Health Care Quality Alliance. The winners are recognized for pioneering ways to improve the medication use process that reduces drug problems, improves patient health and increases communication between all members of the health care team.

Appropriate medication use can prolong life, relieve suffering, and cure or delay progression of disease. The awards have been created by the association and the alliance because morbidity and mortality associated with medication uses are significant public health problems, resulting in up to 100,000 deaths per year and significant disability.

Quality in medication use includes: appropriate use of beneficial therapies; avoidance of potentially harmful therapies; avoidance of errors that can lead to adverse events; patient compliance or adherence to therapy; avoidance of multiple medication prescribing, and therapeutic monitoring. Coastal Medical has helped develop an innovative Pharmacy Care Management Program that addresses medication-related problems and improves quality of care. The outpatient pharmaceutical care program involves collaboration between physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists who provide direct patient care in their offices.

The pharmacists are considered providers and use computer templates for patient appointments and have full access to medical charts. In just 18 months of the program, the pharmacists performed 3,338 patient care interventions, identifying and addressing 1,880 medication-related problems.

In addition, a Coastal Medical clinical pharmacist splits her time between two acute care hospitals to coordinate care between and among the outpatient pharmacist and other primary care providers. During the first seven months of the program, 160 patients were seen, and on average 3.1 medication-related problems per admitted patient were identified and addressed.

"The implementation of this pharmacist-directed outpatient and inpatient care model in a large, private, primary care network is novel in terms of health care delivery systems," Melbourne said. "The collaboration between patients, pharmacists, physicians and other health care providers at Coastal Medical through the Pharmacy Care Management program is exemplary and illustrates that significant health care quality improvement can be attained."

"I spend a lot of time talking to patients about how they are taking their medication, and how their prescription medications may interact with herbal and over-the-counter medications," says Susan Plante, clinical pharmacist and assistant director of the Pharmacy Care Management Program.

"From my point of view," says Dr. Steven Kempner, medical director at Coastal Medical, "it gives my patients more time to talk with a health care provider. I can't provide all the information they need in the few minutes I have to talk with them. Giving them another 15-30 minutes with a pharmacist to go over all of their medications is time that is very valuable for them and valuable to gives me the feedback I need to help further their care."

The Pharmacy Care Management Program of Coastal medical Inc. is affiliated with the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy.

For Information: Kathleen Melbourne 401-781-2400,
Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116


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