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Introducing OPTICS

Posted On Oct Mon, 2021

Looking at Clinical Pharmacy Through a New Lens

The new Office of Pharmacy Therapeutics and Integrated Clinical Services (OPTICS) team: Left to Right: Stephen Ford, Pharm.D., BCGP; Nancy Chia, Pharm. D., MBA; Henry So, Pharm. D., BCPS, BCACP; Zane Gray, Pharm. D., BCACP; and Christopher Bender, Pharm. D., BCACP

Indiana, PA- Since 2015, the clinical pharmacists of Diamond’s Drug Information Center have been a lifeline for institutional healthcare providers, dispensing pharmacotherapy expertise on demand – from dosing, to disease states, drug-drug interactions, formulary management, and more.

But with the pharmacy profession moving closer to integrating clinical pharmacists into direct patient care in recent years, these clinical pharmacists had evolved beyond just providing drug information, and they wanted their healthcare partners to see this clearly.

They started with a fitting name change. The Drug Information Center is now the Office of Pharmacy Therapeutics and Integrated Clinical Services, or OPTICS. OPTICS is more than a name change – it’s a change in focus, and in capabilities.

“The Drug Information Center was our first real venture into a formalized clinical pharmacy program,” said Zane Gray, Pharm. D., BCACP, the clinical pharmacist supervisor for the group. “Now through OPTICS, we’re getting away from that restrictive information-based approach and into a more patient-oriented team.”

This new patient-oriented approach is best reflected in the “Integrated Clinical Services” portion of the name. The goal is simple: To actively incorporate tenets of their clinical pharmacy expertise into the everyday operations of the facility medical teams they serve, rather than just acting as a passive reference.

“We’re actually going out and interacting with our clinicians and having a meaningful effect on patient care,” Gray said.

OPTICS achieves this meaningful effect on patient care through collaborative formulary management practices, medication therapy management, individualized patient care plans, comprehensive medication managment, and a new service called the Medication Surveillanz Monitoring Program (MSMP), a tool to identify the safest and most cost-effective treatments for patients while mitigating adverse drug risks.

“Now we feel we’re actually integrated into the process of patient care,” said Stephen Ford, Pharm.D., BCGP, an OPTICS pharmacist. “Sometimes we’re even able to communicate with providers before medications are prescribed or recommended, and we can follow those patients longitudinally.”

Moving away from an information-based approach does not mean doing away with drug information, however. OPTICS will continue to focus on provider-level education, offering customers the webinars, clinical reference documents, and yes, the on-demand clinical answers they’re accustomed to receiving from the Drug Information Center.

The only noticeable change the OPTICS team wants customers to see is a continuous improvement in their patients’ outcomes.

“I believe OPTICS is a one-of-a-kind program,” Gray said. “We’re taking patient care models that you see in the community, that maybe aren’t as applicable to the patients in the facilities we work with, and adapting them into new patient-centered clinical pharmacy services that you can’t find anywhere else, but at Diamond.”

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