Pharmacy

Wider Use of Biosimilars Promise Significant Savings for VA

Wider Use of Biosimilars Promise Significant Savings for VA

Even as biologics offer new options for patients suffering from a wide range of diseases today, their steep prices pose a significant challenge to healthcare system budgets.

Refill Synchronization Significantly Improves Adherence Among Some Groups

Refill Synchronization Significantly Improves Adherence Among Some Groups

As every pharmacist and physician knows, medications only work if patients take them as prescribed—and increasing consistent adherence remains one of the biggest challenges in medicine.

Pharmacists Play Big Role in More-Restrictive IHS Opioid Prescribing Rules

Pharmacists Play Big Role in More-Restrictive IHS Opioid Prescribing Rules

By Annette M. Boyle ROCKVILLE, MD—This summer, the Indian Health Service (IHS) instituted new rules for pharmacists and providers designed to reduce abuse and overuse of opioids, making it one of the first agencies to directly address the burgeoning rates… Read More

VA Clinical Pharmacists Have Broader Scope, Better-Than-Average Pay

VA Clinical Pharmacists Have Broader Scope, Better-Than-Average Pay

According to job site Glassdoor, clinical pharmacists in the U.S. make about $113,000 on average. At the VA, they do a little better, averaging nearly $115,000, based on salaries reported to the site.

Patients Flip (Ratings) Over Robotic Efficiency at Cherry Point Pharmacy

Patients Flip (Ratings) Over Robotic Efficiency at Cherry Point Pharmacy

CHERRY POINT, NC—Prior to a renovation late last year, patients at Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point’s pharmacy left negative feedback twice as often as positive. Installation of a robotic pharmacy system reversed those numbers, however. Today, two-thirds of comments are upbeat.

Misuse of E-Prescription Notes Delays Pharmacists, Could Harm Patients

Misuse of E-Prescription Notes Delays Pharmacists, Could Harm Patients

HOUSTON — Pharmacists consult the free-text “Notes” field in ambulatory electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions) for patient and dispensing information that physicians cannot communicate elsewhere.

Massive VA Point-of-Care Trial Begins to Compare Two Diuretics

Massive VA Point-of-Care Trial Begins to Compare Two Diuretics

Study Using Primary Care Providers Touted As Much More Cost-Effective By Annette M. Boyle MINNEAPOLIS — Pioneering use of “point of care” research in a new study at the VA might finally answer the question of whether hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) or… Read More

Bill Expanding Veteran Access to Immunizations Ignites Controversy

Bill Expanding Veteran Access to Immunizations Ignites Controversy

Pharmacists Take a Lead Role in Increasing Vaccination Rates By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — An effort in the U.S. Senate to ensure that veterans have access to all recommended immunizations was about as routine as legislation gets, simply clarifying… Read More

Indian Health Service Counseling Technique Improves Medication Knowledge

Indian Health Service Counseling Technique Improves Medication Knowledge

An extra minute of patient interaction using the Indian Health Service (IHS) technique more than doubles the likelihood that patients will remember and understand what their new prescription treats, how to take the medication and its possible side effects.

Pharmacist Calls to Cognitively Impaired Veterans Lowers Readmissions

Pharmacist Calls to Cognitively Impaired Veterans Lowers Readmissions

By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON — For many older veterans, the transition from hospital to home can create confusion about which medications to take when. For veterans with cognitive impairment, the challenge increases — and so does the risk of… Read More

TRICARE Promises Cost Savings for Everyone with RX Shift

TRICARE Promises Cost Savings for Everyone with RX Shift

It’s a case of bad news-good news: TRICARE beneficiaries, as of Oct. 1, have fewer options for getting certain prescriptions filled, but their costs are lower.

Philadelphia VAMC Pharmacy Focuses More on Customers to Increase Satisfaction

Philadelphia VAMC Pharmacy Focuses More on Customers to Increase Satisfaction

When outpatient pharmacy customer satisfaction scores plunged below 40% on a recent survey, pharmacists in Philadelphia responded with several quality-improvement initiatives and were rewarded with significantly improved ratings.

Veterans Choice Program Eases Process Somewhat for Outside Prescriptions

Veterans Choice Program Eases Process Somewhat for Outside Prescriptions

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — Veterans who receive care through the Veterans Choice Program may not have many choices when it comes to prescriptions from those outside providers, but they do have more than those who receive prescriptions from… Read More

Long-Acting Insulins Approved by FDA

PLAINSBORO, NJ – Physicians treating diabetes patients have new weapons in their arsenal. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved Tresiba (insulin degludec injection) and Ryzodeg 70/30 (insulin degludec/insulin aspart injection) to improve glucose control in adults with diabetes mellitus.… Read More

Team-Based ED Program Halves Inappropriate Prescribing for Older Veterans

Team-Based ED Program Halves Inappropriate Prescribing for Older Veterans

In the bustle of a hectic VAMC emergency department, do healthcare providers always remember which common medications are often problematic for older veterans? Usually not.

Honored AF Major Promotes Greater Primary Care Role for Pharmacists

Honored AF Major Promotes Greater Primary Care Role for Pharmacists

In 2012, pharmacists at Hill Air Force Base had 84 direct patient-to-pharmacist clinical interactions a year. Today there are 9,600 patient interactions.

New DHA Screening Process Brings Drug Compounding Costs to 2% of April Levels

New DHA Screening Process Brings Drug Compounding Costs to 2% of April Levels

DHA Pharmacy Chief Says “Nefarious Actors” Targeted Beneficiaries By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — In April, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) spent $18 million a day in compound drug claims. By July, the daily costs had dropped to $360,000 as… Read More

Army Polypharmacy Program Posts Outstanding Return on Investment

Army Polypharmacy Program Posts Outstanding Return on Investment

Clinical Pharmacists Help Optimize Medication Use By Annette M. Boyle HONOLULU — A pilot program at Tripler Army Medical Center that manages patients taking multiple drugs appears poised to post a financial return on investment of 5:1. As a result,… Read More

Preoperative Opioid Use Predicts Post-Surgical Chronic Pain

SEATTLE – The most important predictor of chronic postoperative pain after elective knee arthroscopy is preoperative opioid use, according to a single-center retrospective study. Background information in the study, published recently in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, notes that chronic… Read More

Legislators Decry Delays in VA/DoD Medical Record Interoperability

Legislators Decry Delays in VA/DoD Medical Record Interoperability

WASHINGTON – After years of assurances that the project is on track, the VA and DoD still struggle to make their emergency medical records interoperable

Military Pharmacies Expand e-Prescribing Option to Civilian Providers

Military Pharmacies Expand e-Prescribing Option to Civilian Providers

By Annette M. Boyle FALLS CHURCH, VA – A recent expansion of e-prescribing at all military treatment facility (MTF) pharmacies brings them in line with their civilian counterparts by allowing them to accept electronic prescriptions from providers located off-base. “This… Read More

Issue Raised: Should TRICARE Be Replaced by Commercial Insurance?

Issue Raised: Should TRICARE Be Replaced by Commercial Insurance?

WASHINGTON – DoD should replace TRICARE with a selection of commercial insurance plans, similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, a recent report suggested.