TRC Conversation: Safety Alerts for Heart Attack Prevention

Jan 29, 2015
Interventions from specialist pharmacists in the Cardiovascular Therapeutic Resource Center® help patients have safer treatment outcomes.
  • High Blood Pressure/Heart Disease

What Happened?

A 45-year-old woman with high blood pressure was electronically prescribed amlodipine-atorvastatin.

Historically, however, she had been prescribed amlodipine-benazepril.

Clinical Gaps in Care

Computerized systems make prescribing easier and more efficient, but it has also introduced new challenges. Dispensing the incorrect medication could result in increased blood pressure and adverse effects including heart attack or stroke.

Specialist Pharmacist Intervention

An Express Scripts cardiovascular specialist pharmacist contacted the prescriber’s office to address the potential confusion between the two medications.

The nurse stated that her office's electronic system makes it easier to pick the first medication that looks right, even though it may be incorrect.

The prescriber confirmed the error and changed the prescription to the correct medication, amlodipine-benazepril.

Why It Matters

Specialist pharmacists perform Therapeutic Resource Center (TRC) clinical protocols, reviewing prescriptions to ensure safe and appropriate use of medications for chronic and complex conditions. When clinically necessary, specialist pharmacists contact prescribers to clarify or correct prescriptions due to safety concerns raised during the review process.

In this case, a safety issue was caught because of a unique rule created by our Specialist Practice Leaders. By combining Express Scripts’ actionable data with clinical specialization, a highly specific alert flagged this safety concern for the specialist pharmacist.

A strong roster of specialist pharmacists focusing on patients with needs in a specific area, like cardiovascular conditions, is one of the unique ways Express Scripts helps patients stay on the right treatment and avoid unnecessary, harmful, adverse events. We call it Health Decision Science: the application of clinical specialization and behavioral sciences combined with actionable data to enable better decisions and healthier outcomes.

Click to download an overview of this conversation.

Author Bio

Lab Staff
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