95 posts categorized "Health Policy"

05/07/2014

Founder of 'We Feed the Homeless Philly' Speaks to Pharmacy Students

HomelessPrior to the end of the 2013-14 school year at University of the Sciences, pharmacy students enrolled in the elective course, "Pharmacist Role in Promoting Lifestyle Changes to Maintain Cardiovascular Health" had the opportunity to host the founder of a local volunteer organization, “We Feed the Homeless Philly.”

Grace Earl PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy, said this particular course aimed to help students develop skills and materials to create a community health promotion event. That's why it seemed fitting for students to engage with Craig Stroman, executive director and founder of the Philadelphia-based homeless organization.

"Craig spoke about the needs of the homeless in Philadelphia, and we learned that between 750 to 1,200 children spend the night in a Philadelphia shelter," said Dr. Earl. "Through recent, informal surveys, Craig found that more than 95 percent of the local homeless did not complete high school."

Contrary to the common beliefs among society, Stroman stressed that “drugs” and “drug abuse” are not the sole causes of homelessness. He shared several heartfelt stories with the class, including how a widower lost everything he had because he was fully dependent on his late wife, and failed to pay his mortgage or bills after she died.  In another case, Stroman said a homeless family was squatting in a vacant house after the father lost his job. After driving this family to a shelter on a Saturday, Stroman learned that Philadelphia shelters only accept "new" families on Monday through Friday, through an intake process.

"As healthcare professionals, we learned that the homeless community's greatest need is food and shelter," said Dr. Earl. "Healthcare may not be the number one priority in their daily life, and that is important for us to understand in our professions."

Stroman can be seen offering meals to homeless individuals at Love Park and other areas in the city on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and he has been successful in increasing support from 40 to 700 volunteers.  He also works as a housing investigator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Students in the class joined members of the University's Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration to host a food donation drive to benefit We Feed the Homeless Philly.  For more information regarding Stroman's organization, as well as volunteer opportunities, visit wefeedthehomelessphilly.org.

04/28/2014

Taking Advantage of Adherence Programs

A simple internet search will provide both patients and health care providers with a multitude of current adherence programs/services. Both the availability of programs and participation from the patients will allow for improvement of overall medication adherence. Multiple adherence programs and the future of medication adherence will be discussed to gain a better understanding of the benefits for increasing adherence.

Adherence Programs:  Medication adherence can improve health, and reduce costs. Therefore, it is important that there are many adherence programs available for the public to take advantage of; either sponsored by a health care company, pharmacy, hospital or ambulatory care clinics. Some of the larger companies that provide adherence services include Lash Group, Optum and Humana. These companies provide supplemental services to both health care providers and patients such as personal consultation with a pharmacist or nurse, pamphlets about different disease states and personal medication reminders. These services are available to the public and it may be beneficial for patients to take advantage of such opportunity.

Pharmacist’s role: One of the easier ways to improve medication adherence is by developing a relationship between patients and their pharmacists. Pharmacists can keep track of patients’ current medication lists, refill schedules, disease states, and work to resolve any barriers that patients may have. Major drug chains such as CVS Caremark pharmacy makes an effort to understand the barriers that are preventing patients from taking their medications. In order to resolve issues CVS uses their pharmacists on the frontline to work one on one with patients to answer questions and improve adherence.

Prospect for Medication Adherence: After careful consideration of past methods and strategic research, the consultant group Frost & Sullivan provides insight on what direction medication adherence programs should be moving. Current methods of improving medication adherence include refill reminders, brochures, blister cards and telephoning. Future strategies hope to avoid general approach and instead focus on each patient’s specific needs or barriers to improve medication adherence. One of the strategies includes pharmaceutical companies to initiate a loyalty card program where patients are offered a financial discount at every fill.  While there may be some benefit to this, one does need to wonder if this strategy will be counter-productive to the pharmacist-patient or physician-patient relationship.  Moving forward technology will also play a key factor in improving adherence as discussed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). With an increase use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) facilities should be able to measure level of medication adherence, evaluate economic impact, increase electronic prescribing, improve drug formulary, and initiate medication reconciliation in all healthcare facilities. Other technology adjustments such as video conferencing, smartphone applications, and electronic availability of medication list for both patients and providers will help advance medication adherence strategies.

A variety of adherence programs are available for all patients to participate in which will then help increase health outcomes. Health care systems and providers are implementing new strategies to reach the common goal of improving medication adherence. Strategies such as focusing on specific patient factors, cost incentives and availability of electronic information will help increase adherence. Taking advantage of multiple adherence programs and new strategies will benefit the future of healthcare.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD '15

04/11/2014

VIDEO: 6abc Highlights Students, Faculty at USciences Research Day

 
 
6abc showcased the diversity and growth of research pursuits at University of the Sciences during its 12th Annual Research Day and 27th Annual John C. Krantz, Jr., Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, April 10. Research Day recognizes and highlights the research efforts of faculty, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, to encourage and promote communication and collaboration among researchers.
 
USciences distinguishes itself by offering undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research early in their academic careers. The diverse research activity that was on display spanned several aspects of the University’s scholarly pursuits, including:
  • Determining occupational therapists’ role in working with pediatric cancer patients
  • Discovering the personality traits that cause adolescents to kill
  • Using yoga to improve quality of life for patients with anorexia nervosa
  • Identifying predictors of successful post-secondary transitions for autistic students

04/08/2014

Occupational Therapy Students and Faculty Present at National Conference

USciences made an impact at this year's national occupational therapy conference.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) organized the largest group of occupational therapists and occupational therapy students in the world. USciences' Occupational Therapy Department was strongly represented. Students and faculty members were honored with multiple presentations and awards this year. Below is a list of these awards and presentations.

Congratulations to all those that represented USciences and the profession of occupational therapy so strongly. 

Dr. Rondalyn Whitney, PhD, OT/L, FAOTA - Dr. Whitney was honored as a Fellow of AOTA. She also presented, "Is Reality Broken? Introducing the First High-Quality Online Game to Improve Social Participation." She also presented an educational session on, "Emotional Disclosure Through Journal Writing: Outcomes of Online Intervention." Dr. Whitney presented another educational session titled, "What You Need to Know to Get Published! An Insider's Look at Strategies for Success." 

Dr. Colleen Maher, OTD, CHT, OTR/L presented a session led, "Evaluation of a One-Week Occupation-Based Program on the Health and Participation of Women With Cancer."

Dr. Varleisha Gibbs, OTD, OTR/L and Elizabeth Higgins presented on, "The Relation of Cultural Behavioral Norms and Parenting Styles to Age of Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders." 

Dr. Kimberly Gargin, OTD, OTR/L presented on, "Generational Differences: Do they Impact Fieldwork?." 

Dr. Ruth Schemm, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA presented a session titled, "Our Time Now?: Function Becomes Central to Implementing the Accountable Care Act (ACA)." 

Danielle Centi, OTS (P4) - Danielle received an internship with the Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Section. 

Alyssa Reiter, OTS (P4), Paula Ortiz and Christima Smith presented on, "Healthy Living for Children and Family: Occupational Therapy's Presence in the Community." 

Brandy Brouse and Danielle Cooney presented a poster titled, "Prevention and Health Care Access: Relationship Between Engaging in Healthy Behaviors and Health Insurance." 

Carolyn Edwards, OTS (P3) presented on "Best Practice for Fall Prevention in Long-Term Care."

Daniel Fichter, OTS (P3) presented a literature review titled, "Are Apps for Adults in Rehabilitation Settings Evidence-Based?." 

Erin Livingston presented a poster titled, "A Systematic Review of Social Stories: Evidence and Application in Community Settings." 

Palak Sutaria, OTS (P3) presented a literature review on, "Combined Cognitive-Motor Fall Prevention Interventions."

Kristin Anderson, Beth Kelly, Patricia Murphy and Ashley Paolino presented on "Creating Opportunities for Social-Emotional and Physical Play."

03/20/2014

All Grown Up - Medication Adherence in Adults

As individuals grow older, the more likely they are to depend on medications to manage a disease state or to even extend their life. Therefore, in order for a medication regimen to be successful in treating a patient, it is important to stress the value of medication adherence. The adult population (ages 19-64) takes many medications on a regular basis, either for acute or chronic diseases. To improve adherence in adults, barriers such as cost, health literacy, and pill burden should be addressed.

Barriers: Prescription medication can be very expensive and therefore may play a role in adult patients’ adherence levels, even if they are not in good health. Cost influence on the patient can be verified by questions such as whether patients got their prescriptions filled, used herbal medications rather than prescription medications, or even stretched out the time till next refill. During a study, it was seen that when there is a cost barrier to medication adherence, adults tend to have a low income status, no drug coverage, or have multiple disease states. Therefore, different programs can be used to assist patients in decreasing medication expenses and thus improve adherence.

Besides cost, health literacy is also a barrier that prevents adults from reaching optimal medication adherence. Most adults will have to manage certain illnesses for the rest of their lives and thus it is important for them to have the necessary disease knowledge. Presentation about the medication include the purpose, mechanism of action, and other drug benefits which may lead patients to have increased medication adherence because they are expecting better health outcomes.

Additionally, many adults have multiple diseases to manage, which results in difficulty to many medications rather than just one. It is during this age that adults are newly diagnosed with chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. Therefore issues such as pill burden can be problematic when there are comorbidities involved. Patients may feel overwhelmed if they have to take multiple medications for diabetes, then asthma and also manage another serious condition of HIV. Options of combination medication therapy should be considered to decrease pill burden.

Asthma: The disease of asthma requires abundant counseling in order for patients to receive optimal therapy and avoid complications. With many inhaler options for both rescue and maintenance therapy in avoiding asthma exacerbations, it can become real confusing for patients to manage. When asthma is not appropriately managed it can lead to increased hospital visits and unwanted health expenses. Recent studies have concluded that patients with increased knowledge, attitude and self-efficacy in managing asthma can improve adherence. This is a disease state that, if patients understand signs and symptoms of asthma and use personal skills in managing the complications, it will result in a better quality of life. It is important to review both disease state and therapy schedule with adult patients every time they receive an inhaler, so patients can be in charge of their own health.

Pharmacists are constantly dispensing medications to adults and thus they have the perfect opportunity to help adults overcome barriers such as cost, health literacy and pill burden. Adulthood is a time in life where patients have to take care of their own health, income, and knowledge. Although adults are independent, pharmacists can step in to provide cost effective solutions and information about managing chronic illnesses such as inhaler techniques for managing asthma exacerbations. Pharmacists can use their knowledge about medications, cost coverage and managing disease states, in order to help adults improve medication adherence.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD '15

03/18/2014

USciences to Host Free Community Discussion on Obamacare on March 25

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Rep. Roebuck

As the Affordable Care Act’s March 31 enrollment deadline draws near, University of the Sciences, in conjunction with state Rep. James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia), will host a discussion regarding this complex law on Tuesday, March 25, from 7-8 p.m., at the University’s Rosenberger Hall, Room 101, located at 45th Street and Woodland Avenue.

During the event, Alicia C. Miller, health information data analyst in the University’s Student Health and Counseling Center; and Andrew Peterson PharmD, PhD, John Wyeth Dean of the University’s Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy, will present data to help individuals make informed choices about the new health insurance options that are available to them.

The topics covered in the presentation will include:

  • Identifying the different health plan options now available for U.S. citizens under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Understanding the process for applying to the program and the eligibility criteria.
  • Detecting resources for understanding the Affordable Care Act, and navigating the system.
Peterson
Dr. Peterson

“West Philadelphia is home to many uninsured and underserved residents who will benefit from the healthcare law,” said Dr. Peterson. “Our goal is to ensure attendees leave our event feeling more comfortable with the healthcare changes, as well as more aware of the different options available to them, and more familiar with navigating the website to apply for a healthcare plan.”

This event is free to attend, and advanced registration is not required. The University is easily accessed via public transportation, and visitor parking is also available to attendees. For more information regarding this event, contact Dr. Peterson at a.peters@usciences.edu or (215) 596-8877(215) 596-8877.215.596

At University of the Sciences, students embark on a challenging learning experience in a proving ground for successful professionals in the science and healthcare-related fields. A private institution dedicated to education, research, and service, and distinguished as the North America’s first college of pharmacy, the University has produced leaders in the science and healthcare marketplaces since its founding in 1821. Students in USciences’ five colleges learn to excel in scientific analysis and to apply their skills to improving healthcare in the lives of people worldwide through such disciplines as pharmacy, biology, chemistry, psychology, physics, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy. For more information, visit usciences.edu or follow us on Twitter @USciences.

Video: Pharmacy Experts Discuss Hotly Debated Painkiller Zohydro on NBC10

Dr. Andrew Peterson, Dean of Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy; and Dr. Dan Hussar, Remington Professor of Pharmacy, recently shared their expertise regarding the hotly debated painkiller, Zohydro, on Philadelphia's NBC10 @ Issue. The program aired on Sunday, March 16, and is attached below in two 5-minute clips:

At isssue

Part 1: NBC @ Issue
Part 2: NBC @ Issue (Profs featured here)

03/14/2014

Pharmacy, Health Policy Experts to be Featured on NBC10 @ Issue on Sunday

At issueThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of the potent opioid painkiller Zohydro ER has been met with fierce criticism, both locally and across the nation. Tune into Philadelphia's NBC10  @ Issue on Sunday, March 16, at 11:30 a.m., as University of the Sciences' pharmacy and health policy experts discuss this drug in further detail.

Andrew Peterson PharmD, PhD, Dean of Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy; and Dan Hussar, PhD, Remington Professor of Pharmacy, joined reporter Tracy Davidson for a discussion regarding the pros/cons of this drug, as well as its potential dangers and health implications.

NBC10 @ Issue is a weekly public affairs discussion program that takes an in-depth look at local, state and national issues and politics. Watch NBC10 @ Issue every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on NBC10, or at 6:30 p.m., on NBC10.com

03/06/2014

Young Adults and Medication Adherence

There is little focus on the young adult population (ages 16 to 24) when trying to understand the relationship between age and medication adherence. It is important to categorize them separately from other age groups since they are at a distinctly different developmental point in their life compared to children and adults. There are many factors that influence medication adherence in adolescents. Exploring these factors, particularly the barriers, through a disease state such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), will allow us to appreciate the many challenges young adults face when taking medications.

Barriers:  Adolescent years are crucial years, behaviorally and developmentally, as it is when children gain independence and start to develop personal opinions. Matsui sheds light on the relationship between parent and adolescents and their involvement in medication adherence, by noting that there may be a chance for family conflict and rebellion. It may be a new concept for adolescents to be in charge of their own health and therefore they may stop taking medications or listening to their parents. Although young adults attain greater independence, these are the years that parents can assist adolescents manage their own health, in contrast to when they were children.  

Besides new gained independence, the lack of knowledge regarding medication therapy may also act as a barrier for young adults to take medications. Once young adults take charge of their own medications, they may worry about adverse events. In a review article, Matsui states that cosmetic changes such as acne and weight gain may prevent young adults from continuing therapy. An unfortunate event of adverse effects may prevent adolescents to better understand their disease state and find a solution to improve medication adherence.

Another barrier that author Huang mentions is that young adults tend to focus on what their peers may think and therefore cancel doctor visits and follow ups. This factor/barrier may influence adolescents to discard their therapies because of the fear being judged for having a specific disease state. Adolescents may not want their friends to know that they have a disease such as diabetes or asthma that needs to be managed with prescription medications.  A disease state that depends on adherence for improvement but adolescents counter many challenges is HIV.

HIV:  It is very important to address adherence issues in adolescents with HIV, because viral load is controlled when adolescents abide to an adequate therapy. A study conducted by MacDonell and colleagues, focuses on the influence of situational temptation and non adherence in young adults with HIV. They defined situational temptations as lack of support, needing a break from medications and not seeing a need for prescribed medications. The study results showed that family support or reminder and limited knowledge regarding purpose of HIV medication, were all significant factors that played a role in the young adults’ temptation to disrupt HIV medications. It was evident that adolescents who experienced optimal adherence had a lower number situational temptations showing that barriers do influence medication adherence.

As healthcare providers it is essential that pharmacists identify and help overcome the challenges that many adolescents face when managing medication therapies.  Pharmacists can recommend solutions such as getting parents involved to improve support and providing prescription information to increase the patient’s medical knowledge. Pharmacists also have the opportunity to help young adults navigate negative peer influence that may act as an obstacle to optimal adherence. Therefore, it is important for pharmacists to recognize and address adherence barriers unique to this population of patients.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD '15

02/19/2014

Social Media in Healthcare - A New Lecture Series at USciences

As healthcare conversations between providers and patients continue evolving into global, participatory discussions via social media, Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy at University of the Sciences will kick off an informative three-part lecture series on March 13 regarding social media as a means of communicating with patients.  The first lecture, presented by Matt Prior, MPH, Director of Communications and Policy Coordinator, Philadelphia Department of Health, will focus on how that department used social media to improve the use of condoms in Philly. 
 
At the conclusion of the lecture series, the University's Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy will hold its annual “Making the Connections” program on Tuesday, April 22, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., in the University’s AstraZeneca Auditorium, located in the McNeil Science and Technology Center. This year’s program will highlight social media in healthcare.
 
Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the IMS Institute, will be a panelist on April 22, speaking on the new report Engaging Patients Through Social Media.  Find out more information about the program email MayesCollegeConnections@usciences.edu.
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