Pharmacy News

Entries for November 2017

Northern Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists Regional Society Update

By Tammy Busch, R.Ph., Otsego Memorial Hospital, Gaylord, 2018 Pharm.D. candidate,

Northern regional representative


The Northern Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (NMSHP) has already started our fall meetings with an informative talk about transitional care and the challenges that health-systems currently face and what is to come regarding reimbursements, readmission rates and the role that pharmacists can play in affecting both. Steve Mauti, B.A., RRT, AE-C is a health-system manager and presented this information in Petoskey last month. Our meeting in October was at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City where Nicholas Torney, Pharm.D., BCPS, clinical specialist in infectious diseases presented information regarding bacteremia and treatment options for best outcomes. Katelin Anderson, Pharm.D., PGY2 resident, Munson Medical Center, will conclude our 2017 meetings with a presentation on current HIV treatment options. The NMSHP will then be on winter break until April when we will have our second annual continuing education (CE) day in Gaylord.  During this time, we hope to gather for a fun day of enjoying the northern winter together while snowshoeing if the weather and our schedules cooperate.

We have had a few changes recently, in that we have added two more meetings per year, increasing from four meetings to six. This started with the development of our annual spring CE event that provides four live CE as well as the addition of the November meeting starting this month. Mid-Michigan Alpena has provided payment for dues for their pharmacists to be members of NMSHP, and Munson Medical Center has risen to the challenge by doing the same. Our meetings will take place at each of those locations with the option of video-conferencing since these institutions are located 2.5 hours away from each other. Members from other cities are welcome to join at either location to enjoy an evening of information and socializing.

Posted in: Member News
That’s My Pharmacist: Promoting Pharmacists as Providers

By Andrew Johnson, Pharm.D., cardiology pharmacist, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Battle Creek


Picture this: a patient is hospitalized for an acute myocardial infarction. The patient was not on any medications prior to the hospital stay and will soon be discharged with five new medications. As the hospital pharmacist reviews the medications with the patient, the pharmacist is informed that the patient does not have insurance. The pharmacist counsels the patient about the new medications and provides affordable options so the patient will be able to afford the medications upon discharge. Because of the pharmacist’s role in this patient’s care, including educating the patient on appropriate use of the medications, re-admission was prevented and the patient is doing well.


Retail, independent, ambulatory, institutional, research and teaching are a few of the many types of pharmacists. Each pharmacist has his or her own stories relating to patient care. Many of these stories are unnoticed by the public. However, in many of these stories, like the one above, the pharmacist’s role in the patient’s care is critical in the management of the patient’s health. Patient’s lives are often changed when pharmacists provide them with resources to utilize their medications appropriately. A few of the critical services that a pharmacist provides to patients include the following: counseling a patient to improve understanding of a medication, participating with the code team in a hospital setting, working with insurance companies to obtain coverage for a high cost or specialty medication, working with physicians to change a medication to a cheaper but equivalent alternative, providing immunizations, reviewing a patient’s medication, or performing a cholesterol or blood pressure review.


The Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists' (MSHP) Public Affairs Committee has been continuing to promote the legislation known as the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas of Enhancement Act. The legislation is known as S.109 and H.R.592. Most pharmacists are familiar with the bill. It would enable pharmacists to serve the underserved population by allowing pharmacists to bill and be reimbursed for services provided. This would decrease healthcare costs overall. MSHP has formulated a letter designed to communicate these bills to other organizations throughout Michigan.


Additionally, the Public Affairs Committee continues to promote the ‘That’s My Pharmacist’ campaign in order encourage the public, physicians and patients to view pharmacists as providers. The Committee has updated the MPA website to include two separate sets of handouts describing the critically important services that pharmacists provide for patients with specific disease states. One set of handouts is designed for providers and informs them of the ways in which pharmacists can be utilized for patient care in each specific disease state. The second set of handouts is designed for patients to gain a better understanding of how they can utilize their pharmacist as they better understand and manage their disease state. The website updates also educate the public on the role of the pharmacist in each specific disease state.


One of the charges of the Public Affairs Committee is to create a video in which patients share their personal stories describing how a pharmacist has impacted their lives. The goal in creating this video is to educate both the public and legislators on the critical role pharmacists have in the healthcare system and the life-changing (and potentially life-saving) impact they make in the lives of patients. If you or someone you know have a story you would like to share, please contact the Public Affairs Committee staff liaison, Kristina Bird, at


MSHP/MPA members continuously work behind the scenes on the behalf of all pharmacists and their patients to make our voices heard by our legislators. Passing the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas of Enhancement Act is a critical step to make pharmacists providers. The benefits of the bill are not limited to pharmacists alone. Passing the bill will ultimately improve health outcomes and decrease healthcare costs. I encourage you to go to where you will find a link to contact your local legislator about the bill. Additionally, you may email or write a letter to your U.S. representative to make your voice heard.

Posted in: Member News
The Importance of Feedback

By Sarah Hoerner, PharmD., clinical pharmacist, Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Grand Rapids

I think we would all agree that feedback is essential for success. This is especially true for residents as they navigate many different areas of pharmacy and grow as practitioners. Residents have identified the ability to give feedback as one of the most important qualities of a good preceptor, second only to clinical competence.1 The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) also acknowledges the importance of preceptor feedback in the PGY1 Standard critical factor, 3.4.b.(1). This standard states “Preceptors must provide on-going feedback to residents about how they are progressing and how they can improve that is frequent, immediate, specific, and constructive.”2 Thus it is imperative that we, as preceptors, continuously develop and practice our skills at providing feedback.

As a new preceptor, I have discovered personal barriers to giving feedback. It’s never fun to be the bearer of bad news, and I find it difficult to call attention to a negative behavior. I don’t want the relationship I have with my learners to be negatively affected by critical feedback. The good news is that there are many resources available for both new and experienced preceptors that share insight into providing effective feedback.

My current “go-to” resource is ASHP’s publication, The Effective Pharmacy Preceptor. This book is filled with guidance to implement a successful learning experience. When I am struggling with my feedback approach, the learner assessment chapter is particularly helpful. The key principles outlined in the chapter help me to focus my discussion. Some of these key principles include1:

  • Label discussion as feedback
  • Feedback should be timely, regular, and frequent
  • Feedback should be specific and descriptive
  • Focus on behaviors, not personal traits
  • Provide specific steps to correct deficiencies
  • Remember that the purpose is to improve performance

Other resources I have used to seek advice about evaluation and teaching skills include ASHP’s “Preceptor Toolkit,” as well as a wide variety of journal articles that discuss effective precepting strategies. The medical education community has published a large number of studies and surveys that focus on learner assessment, so don’t limit a literature search to the world of pharmacy. I am also fortunate to be surrounded by many knowledgeable and experienced preceptors at my institution who are willing to mentor me as I practice my precepting skills.

Finally, it is vital to remember that feedback should not be a one-way street. Just like residents and students, we need feedback to continue to grow as successful preceptors. Ask your learners on a regular basis for feedback regarding the education experience and your assessment style. This is a great way to develop and improve evaluation skills, especially since each learner will receive feedback differently. At our institution, we’ve implemented a “Feedback Friday” email series. The purpose of these emails is to encourage our staff and learners to reflect on and explore different teaching approaches to further our development as educators, learners, mentors and trainers. We hope to promote open communication and frequent feedback amongst our department.


  1. Soric MM, Schneider SR, Wisneski SS. The Effective Pharmacy Preceptor. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; 2017.
  2. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. Accreditation Standards for PGY1 Pharmacy Residencies. ASHP website. Accessed September 2017.
Posted in: Member News
Distance Learning for Pharmacy Technician Training

By Amy Pouillon, Pharm.D., clinical specialist, Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids


As of 2015, the state of Michigan requires licensure for all technicians engaging in the practice of pharmacy. Requirements for full licensure include a completed application form, graduation from an accredited high school or GED, a criminal background check and passage of one of the following: certified pharmacy technician examination administered by either the National Health Career Association or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or an employer-based training program examination approved by the Board of Pharmacy.1 In January 2017, PTCB suspended the 2020 requirement that all technicians applying for the exam complete an accredited training program.2 The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)/the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accredited pharmacy technician programs must have a minimum of 600 hours of didactic training, experiential and simulation work.3 The delay in implementation of the required completion of an accredited training program was to permit more time for key stakeholders to engage in discussion about the future educational requirements for pharmacy technicians.2


As the regulatory and educational expectations continue to evolve for pharmacy technicians, multiple options for training and exam preparation are available to prepare students for the pharmacy technician profession. Many pharmacy technician training programs are offered at local hospitals, community colleges and vocational schools. These programs engage students in the formal education process where on-site courses provide classroom and laboratory simulation work to prepare the students for their experiential rotations.  An alternative option to the formal classroom experience is online training. These courses typically involve didactic review with assessments following the course work. Experiential or simulation training components are not commonly included with these programs.


Online distance learning programs are a small but growing pharmacy technician training program alternative. Online distance learning programs provide an opportunity for students to receive pharmacy technician education in locations where formal classroom training programs may not be available. The programs can also provide opportunities for large employers to deliver baseline education for on-boarding and assist in advancement opportunities. In addition to didactic work, these programs utilize advanced technology to provide laboratory simulation practice and assessments. Simulation experiences for pharmacy practices such as sterile and non-sterile compounding or prescription processing are built into the curriculum and assessed through the technology component of the course. Students may use video features to tape a simulation experience to forward for preceptor review or engage in live assessments. Experiential hours are obtained through course affiliated community pharmacies, long-term care pharmacies and hospitals.  Because the online distance learning programs are able to incorporate didactic, experiential, and simulation experience, programs are able to apply for accreditation.


Currently, there are two pharmacy technician online distance learning ASHP/ACPE accredited programs.



The online distance learning program was accredited in 2017 and provides the opportunity for individuals to complete online learning modules, simulations and a required six week externship. Learn more about the program here.

Therapeutic Research Center (TRC)

Pharmacy Tech University was accredited in 2016 and is offered through employer based affiliations at this time. The program can be modified to meet the expectations of the employer. Learn more about the program here


Through the advanced use of technology, online distance learning programs provide students a unique training opportunity to complete an ASHP/ACPE accredited pharmacy technician program. As the pharmacy technician education requirements continue to be formalized, online distance learning will play a role in helping to meet the baseline education required for the profession. 


  1. Michigan Bureau of Professional Licensing. Pharmacy Technician Law FAQ. Department of  Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website. Accessed 06 Oct 2017.
  2. Humphrey, Laura. PTCB Suspends Implementation of Accredited Education Requirement Originally Planned for 2020. PTCB website. Accessed 06 Oct 2017.
  3. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Pharmacy Technician Training. ASHP website. Accessed 06 Oct 2017.  
Posted in: Professional Practice
Drafting the Future

By Nancy MacDonald, Pharm.D., transition of care coordinator, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MSHP president-elect


In general, the fall is a very busy time for the Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP). Although committees don’t formally meet at that time, there is a lot of preparation for the upcoming year that takes place. This past fall was no exception as two exciting events took place in Lansing. They included the MSHP Planning Day Meeting and the MSHP Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Practice Leadership Conference.

The MSHP Board of Directors and various pharmacy thought leaders participated in the MSHP Planning Day. Attendees used the Michigan Pharmacists Association's (MPA) Draft Strategic Plan, MSHP Mission and Vision Statements, 2015 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Strategic Plan, the ASHP Foundation Pharmacy Forecast 2016-2020 and their brainstorming ideas to determine the MSHP Strategic Plan for 2018-2020. They focused on three key areas to develop MSHP goals and objectives and included a challenge to focus on how we demonstrate our value. These areas included:

  • Michigan Patients/ Their Care
  • MSHP Members
  • Pharmacy Practice Advancement

Ambulatory care pharmacy leaders were invited to participate in the ambulatory care conference held one week later. We even had pharmacists calling MPA to see if there was room for them to attend! As I walked around the room to talk to everyone that day, I could feel the excitement and enthusiasm not only for networking opportunities but also to hear about what others are doing to ensure patients have access to pharmacists’ care. As our statewide initiatives were presented, it was invigorating to hear how much our practice has advanced in our State and how different Michigan practices are adding value to patient care. The day concluded with a brief discussion about how MSHP could incorporate this information into statewide initiatives.

Many of the discussions from these fall events have been included in the 2018 MSHP committee charges. Watch for upcoming MSHP events that share best practices for demonstrating our value. I look forward to hearing about the great work MSHP members continue to do for our patients and how we are demonstrating our value to patient care in Michigan!

Posted in: Member News
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