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Ambulatory Action Team Leads Pharmacy Response Amid COVID-19 Crisis


March 23, 2021

During the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the formation of a pharmacy ambulatory action team was critical for advancement of pharmacy practice at Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS). Pharmacists reported on the team’s objectives and strategies in an article published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy

“By building a strong communication infrastructure and partnership with ambulatory care providers, clinic medical and operational leaderships, clinical laboratory staff, and infusion centers, the team was able to swiftly execute solutions and respond to new issues and requests,” the authors explained. 

The team focused on the continuation of services to patients with chronic conditions who were vulnerable to care management gaps amid the COVID-19 crisis. Subsequently, pharmacists took on expanded roles in collaborative drug therapy management, transitioning patients from in-clinic injection to home self-injection, obtaining medication assistance support, and protocol-based warfarin management, according to the article.

The team also implemented strategies to manage and guide COVID-19 medication therapy and associated drug shortages involving hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. 

“The strategies implemented to manage COVID-19–related drug supply shortages in the outpatient setting allowed YNHHS pharmacies to continue to fill hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin prescriptions for patients chronically treated with these therapies and ensured a sustained supply in the community,” the authors reported. 

The paper credited teamwork and the fostering of a positive environment where all team members were heard, involved, and engaged with the effort’s success. 

“The experiences gained during the COVID-19 pandemic have made the YNHHS ambulatory pharmacy team better prepared for future crises,” the authors wrote, “and equipped the team with new tools and skills that will remain in a transformative state.” 

Jolynn Tumolo 

Reference

Do T, Luon S, Boothe K, Stutsky M, Renauer M. Advancing ambulatory pharmacy practice through a crisis: Objectives and strategies used in an ambulatory care action team's response to the COVID-19 pandemic [published online ahead of print, 2021 Feb 27]. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;zxab063. doi:10.1093/ajhp/zxab063

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