Opioids, Medication Safety Top Focus at ASHP Summer Meetings


Former NASA astronaut to keynote event helping pharmacists explore some of the biggest challenges facing pharmacy.

The ethics of handling the opioid crisis, along with several information technology and medication safety issues, will be discussed at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Summer Meetings and Exhibition in Minneapolis, MN, June 3 through 5.

Mae C. Jemison, MDIn addition, Mae C. Jemison, MD, the first woman of color to go into space, will be the event’s keynote speaker. Jemison, who was a NASA astronaut for six years, is founder of the technology consulting firm The Jemison Group, Inc., which explores and develops stand-alone science and technology programs and companies.

Related article: A Solution to the Opioid Crisis?

The “Joseph A. Oddis Colloquium: Ethical Dimensions of the Opioid Crisis” will allow attendees to apply framework for resolving ethical dilemmas in two patient-care cases involving the interface between pharmacy practice and the abuse or misuse of opioids.     

“We are almost paralyzed in some ways in how we can move forward with the problem. Attendees will be able to work in teams to decide what they would do in particular situations,” Cynthia Von Heeringen, RPh, Director of Educational Programs for ASHP, told Drug Topics.

Another opioid-focused session, Practice Opportunities for Opioid Management in Ambulatory Clinics, is hosted by Virginia (Ginnie) Ghafoor, PharmD, Pain Specialist at the University of Minnesota Health in Minneapolis, MN. Opioid safety in patients with substance abuse, de-prescribing opioids in palliative care, and medication therapy management opioid care packages for pharmacists, are among the tips that will be covered.

Related article: How You Can Help Prevent Opioid Abuse

Several medication safety sessions will also be offered, including “Pharmacists are the Key: Improving Patient Safety Behaviors in the Digital Age.” Rajiv Shah, MD, a nephrologist and Founder and Chief Medical Officer for My-Meds, a medication reminder service, “is very familiar with team-based care and getting pharmacists involved in patient care,” Von Heeringen said. “By using inpatient, outpatient, and digital touchpoints, pharmacies can really make a change in medical outcomes.”

In the “Moving to Real Time Patient Safety with Health IT: Creating Value with Improved Safety and Reduced Cost,” session, David Classen, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer for Pascal Metrics, will reveal how to make real-time safety improvements. “Classen is looking at leveraging data in healthcare IT to pull out real-time error detections, so practitioners will be warned and stopped right at the time,” Von Heerington said.

Several other sessions will be offered as part of four boutique meetings: Informatics Institute, Ambulatory Care Conference, Medication Safety Collaborative, and Pharmacy, Practice and Policy. The meetings will also include over 90 exhibits. 

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