Wilkes University pharmacy faculty receive grant

Judith Kristeller and Dana Manning, faculty in Wilkes University’s Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, have received a $150,000 grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation. The grant, to be paid over three years, will expand a system for improving the transition of care and medication use for patients who are discharged from Commonwealth Health network hospitals to home.

The Wilkes grant is one of only 13 awarded by Cardinal Health from among 163 applications nationwide.

In addition, Kristeller and Manning have also been awarded a $41,000 grant from the Moses Taylor Foundation that will further support the project.

The two grants continue work started in Scranton in 2013 at Moses Taylor Hospital in conjunction with the pharmacy department by Kristeller, a professor of pharmacy practice at Wilkes. She developed a model to connect hospital pharmacists, community pharmacists and physicians to ensure patients are educated about their medications, receive follow-up care for medication-related problems and receive evidence-based management of acute and chronic conditions. The effort focuses on improving medication safety, preventing medication-related problems and preventing hospital readmissions.

  “The goal is to have a smooth hand off to provide coordinated patient care related to medication management as patients transition from hospital to home,” Kristeller explains.

The new grants will allow the model piloted at Moses Taylor to be used at a second site, Regional Hospital of Scranton, where Manning, an associate professor of pharmacy practice, maintains a clinical practice site. Both Moses Taylor Hospital and Regional Hospital of Scranton are affiliates of the Commonwealth Health network. Wilkes pharmacy students will gain experience by working with the two faculty in developing and expanding the program at both clinical sites.

“We are grateful to have such a good partner in Commonwealth Health,” Kristeller said. “They have shown a commitment to support a model to improve the quality of care for patients.  In particular the Departments of Pharmacy at Moses Taylor Hospital and Regional Hospital of Scranton have been essential to the success of this project.  We would not have this opportunity without their leadership and dedication to supporting the Wilkes faculty and students.”

The model initially targeted patients with COPD and heart failure, but it has since been expanded to cover more conditions. These include heart and vascular disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and patients who have a history of multiple falls. Patients are eligible if they take five or more medications and live at home.

The Cardinal Health grant has the added benefit of placing all grant recipients in a learning community. The health care professionals awarded the grants will benefit from sharing results and feedback with each other, offering opportunities for more meaningful research outcomes.

In Kristeller’s initial study at Moses Taylor Hospital, she found that the new model improved medication use and safety among patients. By adding a second hospital, the effect of the expanded and improved service will be evaluated further. Kristeller and Manning, along with other collaborators within Commonwealth Health and pharmacy students, plan to publish their results in a peer-reviewed journal.  In addition, they will be sharing their results at local, regional, and national meetings.