January 7, 2019

The Centers for Children and Women at Texas Children’s recently received community pharmacy practice accreditation from the Center for Pharmacy Practice Accreditation (CPPA). This accreditation demonstrates Texas Children’s ongoing commitment to high quality care and patient safety.

With approximately 33,000 community pharmacies located across the United States, The Centers in Greenspoint and Southwest are the first in Texas to gain this esteemed accreditation.

“Gaining this voluntary accreditation is an important way for us to show our investment in continuous improvement of our pharmacy practice,” said Yen Phan, pharmacy manager at The Centers for Children and Women. “Our team worked very hard to meet the rigorous CPPA requirements for accreditation, and we will continue to focus our efforts on providing exceptional patient-centered care.”

The CPPA, a non-profit organization, recognizes pharmacy practices that foster medication safety and effectiveness, ensure continuous quality improvement and facilitate desired patient health outcomes.

The Centers at Greenspoint and Southwest implemented several initiatives to meet the CPPA standards for community pharmacy accreditation including creating a Quality Committee that provides an organized forum to review quality metrics and develop solutions to prevent potential medication errors. The Quality Committee also assessed overall performance and identified areas in need of quality improvement.

“The surveyors were very impressed with our best practices and model of care,” Phan said. “Our hope is that our best practices can serve as a benchmark for other community pharmacies to replicate.”

For more information about the CPPA accreditation process, visit www.pharmacypracticeaccredit.org
For more information about The Center for Children and Women, visit www.jointhecenter.org

March 27, 2018

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy program has received accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). This accreditation helps the Specialty Pharmacy position itself and demonstrate its value in delivering specialized clinical services.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment and will allow us the opportunity to gain access to care for patients with commercial payers,” said Jeff Wagner, Director of Pharmacy.

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy opened in September of 2016, and was established to handle convenient plan of care management, and other services specific to patients with serious illnesses.

The pharmacy is an outpatient service, available to any eligible patients at Texas Children’s Main Campus and West Campus. More specifically, to patients and international patients who are seen by Texas Children’s providers and who have Medicaid/Medicare, TCH Health Plan, and CHIP as their health plan. It allows families to fill their specialty medications (and other retail medications) at the hospital, through free mail delivery, or in-person pick-up which is solely located at the Mark Wallace Tower Outpatient Pharmacy.

“Many of the patients in our care face challenges in medication access in the community,” said Wagner. “Ultimately, we are ideally positioned to address this gap in access and care with the Specialty Pharmacy.”

To differentiate from other pharmacies, there are Specialty Pharmacists embedded within Texas Children’s Hospital outpatient clinics to counsel patients taking specialty medications. They also provide ongoing monitoring of their specialty therapy and coordinate pharmacotherapy needs with physician/clinic teams. There is also a call center that provides proactive refill management for specialty pharmacy patients.

Recently the pharmacy staff created a patient satisfaction survey that resulted in positive data that reaffirms how the Specialty Pharmacy continues to be efficient and accessible, all while meeting patient needs in the most effective way possible.

“I love having the medications delivered to our home,” said one survey participant. “It just makes things simpler when I forget to pick my meds up or just can’t go get them.”

Along with productivity and being able to provide the necessary medications, patients also expressed the high level of professionalism and customer service that comes from the staff throughout the department.

“I have a great team of passionate people who strive to provide the best care possible for our patients! They are a joy to work with on a daily basis, said Stephen Davis, Specialty Pharmacy Manager. “They challenge and inspire me at the same time. I provide support, guidance, and leadership to my team. I empower them to make informed decisions and assist them with troubleshooting and problem-solving.”

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy has expanded into almost a dozen clinics since it opened and has positively impacted hundreds of patients in that short time.

“The Specialty Pharmacy has supported Texas Children’s Hospital’s mission, and the impact this service has had over 1,000 patients is breathtaking,” said Wagner. “The engagement of families in the planning of these services, and the feedback we have received to date has been absolutely remarkable.”

The accreditation covers all clinics supported by Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy and is a major ingredient in its success moving forward. The pharmacy will have to be reaccredited again in another three years.

“Accreditation will help in our ability to offer this service to all patients of Texas Children’s Hospital, and even beyond,” Wagner said. “The ultimate goal is to be able to offer Specialty Pharmacy Services for all patients, regardless of payer.”

As of 2018, the pharmacy has currently rolled out into the following 11 clinics within Main Campus:


As well as the following four clinics within West Campus:

Cancer Center

In 2018, Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy will expand services to include the Complex Care clinic and the Allergy and Immunology clinic. Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will receive specialty pharmacy services during the summer of 2018. The Specialty Pharmacy is currently working towards acquiring additional contracts in order to serve more patients with commercial insurance.

“In order to ensure that Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy is able to continue to serve our patients, we are actively working towards acquiring additional space in order to support the anticipated growth,” said Davis. “In the future, I envision Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy providing mail-order service to all patients within the state of Texas and outside the state of Texas.”

February 6, 2018

Stephen Davis, a manager with Texas Children’s Pharmacy Department, was recently honored by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) New Practitioners Forum as one of six recipients of a distinguished service award.

The awards were presented at a reception during ASHP’s 52nd mid-year clinical meeting and exhibition in Orlando, Florida. The ASHP Pharmacy Practice Sections and New Practitioners Forum Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member whose volunteer activities have supported their mission and helped advance the profession.

For the past 75 years, ASHP has made efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. The organization has more than 44,000 members including pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings.

Davis is the residency program director for the Health-System Pharmacy Administration Residency at Texas Children’s. This program offers residency slots to students, residents, and pharmacists, to help them develop their clinical and leadership skills.

He is a former chair of the ASHP New Practitioners Leadership and Career Development Advisory Group, a faculty member for the ASHP manager’s boot camp, and is a member of the organization’s Commission on Credentialing as well.

He is the former chair of the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists Editorial Advisory Board, and a current member of its Education Affairs Council.

November 29, 2017

Information Services, the Cancer and Hematology Centers and Pharmacy recently partnered to successfully launch Epic Beacon, a new medical oncology module that gives physicians and other providers a better tool with which they can create personalized treatment plans and support care regimens based on standardized protocols. The outcome of such treatment plans and support care is a more efficient and effective way to follow each patient through outpatient doctor’s visits and inpatient hospital stays, easing the patient’s transition to lifetime, post-cancer care.

“This initiative has changed how we deliver care to some of our sickest patients,” said Cancer Center Director Dr. David Poplack. “With Beacon, we are able to provide more tailored treatment, more efficiently and at a decreased risk to our patients who receive some of the strongest medications.”

During the 18-month implementation process, about 600 treatment protocols were made electronic via Epic Beacon, which is fully integrated with Epic’s pharmacy and electronic Medication Administration Records (MAR) products, allowing oncologists to better track medications that have been dispensed and administered, including medications ordered outside of an oncology treatment plan.

In addition, Beacon, which is being used system wide where oncology patients receive chemotherapy, features decision support that can suggest protocols as well as dose-specific medication modifications based on chart data. It also tailors plans at the patient level, so medication orders can be created and queued up in advance of patient visits for cancer treatment.

“Using Beacon has been a culture change for the Cancer Center but well worth it,” said Julie McGuire, director of Enterprise Systems for Information Services. “It has taken real dedication from all teams involved as well as a tremendous amount of physician and nurse engagement.”

Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, an oncologist with the Cancer Center, said Epic Beacon’s buildout and go-live process was smooth and seamless.

“Even Epic’s own representative was impressed, saying it was the best he has ever seen,” Dryer said. “And it’s worked well in clinic so far for sure!”

Other first impressions of Epic Beacon have been positive as well:

“I’ve never seen a project with as much dedicated physician support and I think that was a HUGE part of this project’s success!”
Drew Willert, Information Services

“The success of the go-live and Beacon’s functionality is a direct result of a multidisciplinary team that demonstrated resilience, excellence and commitment to the overall success of the project.”
Denise Tanner-Brown, Cancer and Hematology Centers

“I am so proud of what WE have done. I am so humbled by all of the outpouring of support from operational, Epic and IS leaders, as well as end users on the front lines.”
Dr. Marla Daves, Cancer and Hematology Centers

October 31, 2017

The Texas Children’s Hospital Ukulele Choir cheered on our Houston Astros in the best way they know how, with the help of some very special patients!

Led by the Music Therapy Department and made up of Texas Children’s staff members, the choir led patients and staff from the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit in a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in support of the Astros’ appearance at the championship game.

The patients played and sang along with the choir demonstrating not only their enthusiasm for the Astros, but also the great strides they have made in their recovery at Texas Children’s.

Established in 2014, Texas Children’s Ukulele Choir is rooted in self-care and respite for staff members who work hard and endure much for our patients and families. It provides an opportunity for members to create positive moments and relationships within their work environment and outside of their immediate department. Since the choir is led by the hospital’s music therapists, patients and staff benefit from this form of therapeutic intervention intended to bolster positive moods and mindsets.

Once a month, the Ukulele Choir performs on inpatient units, high traffic areas of the hospital, as well as staff meetings and events. The choir also provides live environmental music throughout the hospital. Since its inception three years ago, the choir has grown from three to more than 30 staff members representing different areas of the hospital including Information Services, Nursing, Pharmacy and Child Life.

March 21, 2017

The Auxiliary Gift Shop recently opened its new location on the first floor of the Pavilion for Women.

The gift shop replaces the Pavilion Express gift shop near the Fresh Bistro and is conveniently located for patients, families, employees and volunteers just off the main lobby of the Pavilion for Women.

The shop features a variety of gifts, fresh flowers, candy, snacks and drinks. Its hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

October 18, 2016

101916medstobedsinside640A case study of the “Meds to Beds” pilot project at Texas Children’s Hospital was featured online in the NEJM Catalyst, a health care management and strategy website from the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Meds to Beds” is a program led by the departments of Surgery and Pharmacy whereby post-surgical medications are delivered to a patient’s bedside by a pediatric pharmacist following ambulatory surgery. The pharmacist then counsels the family on the medication and answers questions the family might have.

“While we knew this program was needed and would enhance surgical outcomes for our patients, we didn’t realize the overall benefits in terms of patient experience and financial bottom line to the hospital,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, associate surgeon-in-chief for clinical affairs and surgical director of patient experience.

Ultimately, “Meds to Beds” resulted in positive patient satisfaction scores. One hundred percent of those surveyed were very satisfied with medication bedside delivery and 99 percent were very satisfied with for pharmacy education. In comparison, outside pharmacies received very satisfied scores in the 20 percent range for these questions.

“We are very proud of the service we are able to provide to our patients and families,” said Jeffrey Wagner, director of pharmacy services at Texas Children’s. “Our ability to improve patient care and experience is exciting, particularly as we look to expand our services and medication delivery program to other areas of the hospital.”

To read the case study, click here.