Dennis Helling caps his career with Remington Medal

March 15, 2013

APhA awards Dennis Helling the Remington Honor Medal

The American Pharmacist Association presented Dennis K. Helling, PharmD, FCCP, FASHP, with its annual Remington Honor Medal, one of the highest honors awarded by the pharmacy profession, at its annual meeting March 3 in Los Angeles.

“As healthcare reform integrates pharmacy into healthcare teams and clinical medicine, the timing is really apropos,” Helling told Drug Topics. Helling recently retired from his position as director of Pharmacy Operations and Therapeutics at Kaiser Permanente Colorado Region, Aurora, Colorado. During his 20 years at Kaiser, he championed improvement of healthcare outcomes and costs through an expansion of the role of the pharmacist. Throughout his career he has promoted the advanced practice roles of pharmacists and been an unwavering voice for the profession, regardless of the practice setting.

On any given day, about 100,000 anticoagulation patients in Kaiser Permanente nationwide are managed by clinical pharmacists, Helling said. In Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Clinical Pharmacy Anticoagulation and Anemia Service manages approximately 8,400 patients, and the Clinical Pharmacy Cardiac Risk Service manages approximately 14,000 coronary artery disease patients. Among his proudest accomplishments is a “90% reduction in mortality and saving $22,000 per patient per year in the Cardiac Risk Service.”

In addition, Helling noted, the anticoagulation service has successfully linked physician clinical practice guidelines to optimal medication therapy management (MTM) through a clinical pharmacy call center.

Helling was also successful in embedding clinical pharmacists in all of Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s primary care medical and specialty practices. Now, allergy, psychiatry, geriatrics, oncology, nephrology, and neurology sections have clinical pharmacy specialists involved, allowing them to optimize MTM.

Helling plans to stay involved in pharmacy organizations. “This is an exciting new chapter for me,” he said. “I will remain clinical professor of pharmacy at the University of Colorado, and I am involved in the Denver Hospice, as vice president of the Board of Directors.”

- Laura Newman

    Contributing Editor