Office of Professional Education

Professional Education Matters | July 2015

News and Updates From the Office of Professional Education


Medication Reconciliation Project Meets Goals

Patients of National Jewish Health are more aware of the medicines they are taking and our clinicians have an improved system for ensuring the accuracy of medication lists. This can be attributed to the Medical Reconciliation (MR) project, a quality and performance improvement program at National Jewish Health. The program was implemented in June 2013 by the Quality Improvement Committee and the Office of Professional Education with support from an educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline. 

The program’s main objective was to enhance patient safety by improving the accuracy of medication lists for medical staff, referring physicians and patients. It also helped in meeting criteria for Meaningful Use, a federal program that affects Medicare reimbursement to National Jewish Health, and Joint Commission goals for MR.

As the two-year project wraps up, key team members gathered for a round table discussion about lessons learned and the improvements that occurred in the clinics as a result of the process. Their conversation was professionally videotaped and will soon be posted on the National Jewish Health website. The panel and video were done to provide information and an example to other clinicians of how to implement MR in their practice.

Esther Langmack, MD, CHCP, medical director for the Office of Professional Education, moderated the discussion. She said, “Pro Ed secured grant support for the MR project and made sure that physicians and staff were offered CME, maintenance of certification (MOC) and nursing and pharmacy educational credits for participation.”

Gary Cott, MD, who, with Betsy Kern, MD, served as lead faculty, said the process of carefully and systematically reviewing all medications that a patient is currently taking has ensured that the list is as accurate as possible. “It’s been shown that failure to reconcile medication lists can potentially lead to adverse drug effects,” he said. “Our goal should be to prevent these whenever possible. It should be carried out at all transitions of care, including intake, discharge and movement between providers.” 

Dr. Kern spoke about gaps identified at the beginning of the project, including a lack of clear expectations and workflow for MAs, RNs and MDs in the MR process. “There were no metrics in place to determine if the process worked and no way to provide feedback to team members about performance,” she said. “Now there are.” Incorporating the entire health care team in the improvement process was essential to the project’s success.

Cari Pfohl, RN, medical assistant (MA) supervisor, said, “Incorporating the MA’s really helped them to feel empowered.” MAs must complete five online MR training modules, enabling them to institute the improved process with immediate results. 

Sara Brayshaw, RN, MSN, nurse coordinator, said nurses also like the new process and see value for patients, too. “It has become a time to educate the patients as to what medications they’re on, what they’re for, and help them take responsibility of learning their medications,” she said.

All agreed that goals for this initiative have been met, but that the MR process will continue to be refined to meet the needs of patients and individual clinic teams.

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Journal Publishes Wellbeing Campaign Article

The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions (Volume 35, 2015) published an article written by Sarah Meadows, MS, CHCP, Manager, Accreditation and Programs in the Office of Professional Education, and Karl Weiss, MBA, president of HealthCare Research. The article, titled “Pre-assessment of Weight Management Practices by Providers and Patients From 2 Community Primary Care Clinic Networks,” discusses the baseline findings in the Wellbeing Campaign initiative. This three-year initiative focuses on building sustainable, replicable weight management programs in two Colorado primary care clinic networks that provide health services to low-income populations. 

The majority of patients indicated they would feel comfortable talking with their health care provider about weight management even at various stages of readiness. However, many providers felt reluctant to address the issue with patients without additional support and resources. The article has implications for opportunities to address overweight and obesity in the primary care setting. 

Support was received from Colorado Health Foundation to conduct this study and prepare the manuscript. 

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Physicians, Patients Attend NTM Lecture Series

National Jewish Health brought together leading medical experts and patients with nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections for the Carolyn and Matthew Bucksbaum NTM Lecture Series for Physicians, Patients and Their Families on May 15. Internationally known leaders in the field of NTM infections spoke about treatment and prevention and updated attendees on the most recent research.

The conference was an educational collaboration of National Jewish Health and NTM Info & Research, Inc. Financial support from the Bucksbaum Foundation made it possible to provide a unique setting in which providers, patients and families could engage in rich dialogue to advance their understanding and improve the care of patients with NTM infections. 

Of the 120 attendees, about half were medical providers and half were patients and their families. Afterward, physicians commented on having gained a much better understanding of NTM. Several noted that having patients in attendance highlighted the importance of the patient perspective on quality of life. 

One patient shared that the opportunity to speak with specialists and other patients “gave us the ability to view our illness in a more 'grounded' way, whereas when we are 'out there' in the world, in particular those who are not close to NJH [and other facilities with NTM specialists], feel very isolated and incapable of acquiring accurate information about our illness.”

Another patient agreed, adding that the conference helped to “really understand what I am dealing with and my prospects for ongoing treatment.”

Conference co-chairs were Charles Daley, MD, chief of the Division of Mycobacterial and Respiratory Infections at National Jewish Health, and Shannon Kasperbauer, MD, director of education for the Division. Participating physicians and nurses could earn credit for continuing medical education. Each lecture was video taped live and is available for viewing.

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Marijuana and Health Symposium is Well Attended

The Marijuana and Health Symposium at National Jewish Health on June 13 had more 140 attendees, most of whom were medical providers. The Office of Professional Education assisted in managing the event and provided continuing medical education certification for health professionals.

The symposium featured presentations by researchers funded by the State of Colorado to study the safety and efficacy of marijuana as a treatment for medical conditions including epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome and insomnia. 

Russell Bowler, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health, has received a grant to study the use of marijuana for insomnia. As co-organizer of the symposium, he said the forum enabled researchers to share existing knowledge about medical marijuana and their ongoing work to learn more about its potential benefits and harms.

Following the symposium, participants commented that it was well-organized and informative. Several providers noted that they will make changes to their screening and prevention practices based on what they learned.

The symposium was sponsored by National Jewish Health, with additional support provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Cannabis Outreach and Education Health Foundation. 

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CME, CE Activities Cover Asthma, Diabetes, Sarcoidosis, TB and More

The Office of Professional Education at National Jewish Health strives to create innovative educational activities that assist physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other health care providers in developing and enhancing their clinical knowledge, competency and performance. The Office of Professional Education excels at producing high quality continuing education in the areas and diseases that National Jewish Health researches and treats.

Live Meetings:

  • September 25-26, 2015, Denver, CO – The Americas Association of Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Disorders (AASOG) National Meeting 2015: Reducing Disparities in Sarcoidosis Through Personalized Care and Increased Detection

  • September 30, 2015, Seattle, WABest Practices in Caring for Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

  • October 14-17, 2015, Denver, CO — 52nd Semi-Annual Denver TB Course

  • January 23-26, 2016, Snowmass, CO — 52nd Annual Clinical Diabetes & Endocrinology

  • February 3-6, 2016, Keystone, CO — 38th Annual Pulmonary & Allergy Update at Keystone (Details coming soon.)

View details about all of our live activities and the extensive list of online offerings here.

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