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Blue Cross Blue Shield Awards a Grant worth more than $18,000 to Ferris' College of Pharmacy

College of PharmacyFerris State University’s College of Pharmacy was awarded a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation in the amount of $18,920 over a period of 12 months.

The grant was approved by the foundation’s board of directors based on the Ferris College of Pharmacy’s research of a patient-centered approach to improving health care service delivery. The grant will also allow at least two pharmacy students to work directly with patients and participate in the research study.

The study investigates the benefits of a patient-centered approach to medication reconciliation in medically ill and stroke patients. Arinze Nkemdirim-Okere, an assistant professor of Pharmacy at Ferris and the principal investigator of the study, described a patient-centered approach to medication reconciliation as “a face-to-face comprehensive review of all of a patient’s home medications prior to admission plus inpatient-prescribed and administered medications during hospital encounters and upon discharge. The purpose of this process is to personalize interventions that will improve patients’ outcomes in the hospital and avoid medication errors such as dosing errors, drug interactions, duplications or omissions.

Nkemdirim-Okere is working collaboratively with Ryan Foster, director of Pharmacy; Angie Frye, nurse manager of Spectrum Health Pharmacy; and the Spectrum Health Neuroscience staff. Nkemdirim-Okere noted that the “approach was developed to proactively optimize all therapies prior to admission, for admission encounters and non-related admission encounters.”

Nkemdirim-Okere added that “our purpose for doing this is to be able to improve quality of care while reducing length of stay, lowering mortality rate and Arinze Nkemdirim Okerelowering readmissions.” The study benefits health professionals and patients. Study results will include a higher level of discoveries for medication discrepancies, a more comprehensive understanding of patients’ level of medication compliance and their challenges, as well as the ability to provide patients with medication-related education so that they can have a better understanding of the medication that they are taking.

“This grant will also fund at least two pharmacy students from the College of Pharmacy to work directly with patients and participate in this research study,” Nkemdirim-Okere said. “We are very excited to have so much support for our study that we hope will help many patients to have better health in the future.”

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  The Foundation funds research and community demonstration programs to improve health care in Michigan awarding close to $3 million annually in grants.