Pharmacy Chief’s Passion for Medication Safety Leads to New Law
The Passing of State Senate Bill 1254 Now Requires California Hospital Pharmacy Staff to Obtain an Accurate Medication History for Every High-Risk Patient Upon Admission
A bill requiring hospital pharmacy staff to obtain an accurate medication history for every high-risk patient upon admission is driving change in California hospitals — thanks largely to the work of Rita Shane, Pharm.D., FASHP, FCSHP, chief pharmacy officer and professor of medicine, with the support of several leaders at Cedars-Sinai.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1254 on Sept. 22, 2018, in an effort to improve patient safety and save time for nurses and physicians by avoiding disruptions such as correcting erroneous orders.
“This is a critical patient safety bill since up to 70 percent of patients have medication errors on their medication lists and up to 20 percent of admissions are medication-related,” said Shane. “I was inspired to write the bill 20 years ago when my father was transferred to a medical center and errors on his medication history led to a significant adverse reaction, as well as a serious infection.”
Shane played a pivotal role in the bill’s success, co-writing it and gaining support from key stakeholders including physicians, patients, Cedars-Sinai leadership, the California Hospital Association and the California Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists.
The best care is delivered by physicians, pharmacists and nurses working together as a three-legged stool.
The bill is based on research led by Joshua Pevnick, MD, associate director in the Division of Informatics (BMS) and assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, in collaboration with the Pharmacy Department. The research demonstrated that medication errors could be reduced by 80 percent when pharmacists or trained technicians obtain medication lists for high-risk patients.
“The best care is delivered by physicians, pharmacists and nurses working together as a three-legged stool,” said Shane. “Senate Bill 1254 ensures every medical center in California, not just Cedars-Sinai, is working together to achieve patient safety and adequately utilizing pharmacy experts for the most high-risk patients.”