RWJ University Hospital at Hamilton

The Department of Pharmacy Services provides pharmaceutical care to the inpatients and outpatients of RWJ University Hospital at Hamilton, a 265 bed community hospital which is committed to Excellence Through Service and Quality. We exist to promote, preserve and restore the health of our community. The vision at Hamilton is to passionately pursue the health and well-being of our patients, employees and the community through our culture of exceptional service and commitment to quality.

The department supports all services within the hospital which includes inpatient, surgical, emergency and radiology services. We also care for our oncology patients in a robust outpatient hematology/oncology center located on campus. The pharmacy department also provides a pharmacist run outpatient anticoagulation clinic staffed by an anticoagulation certified pharmacist.

Pharmacy is highly integrated into the hospital patient safety system with the utilization of a common health information system shared among our inpatient department promoting intradepartmental information exchange. Pharmacy also utilizes a hospital wide automated medication distribution through a highly controlled network of automated dispensing cabinets in the inpatient, emergency, radiology and surgical suite areas. Our clinical information system supports the medication safety process from the creation of the medication order by utilization computer prescribed order entry (CPOE) with clinical alerts and algorithms, review and verification of medication orders by a pharmacist, through the use of Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) at the patients’ bedside. The clinical information system also supports safe medication use at RWJ Hamilton by providing in real time current patient medication regimens, current patient labs, allergies, significant patient demographics along with screening for drug-drug interactions, dose range checking and compatibility checks. Through a staff of 51 highly trained pharmacists and technicians, the department provides a hybrid decentralized/centralized staff model. We continue our clinical staff developed training model where criteria based competency with a Critical Care Pharmacist designation within the facility. These pharmacists work with our ICU intensivists under to provide prospective medication reviews and clinical services. We were able to expand this team from four pharmacists to eight pharmacist to allow for expanded services to the ICU and enhanced staff development. Cross-training in the pharmacy department has expanded and been a major focus of 2020, particularly with the cancer center and anticoagulation clinic. Through strong efforts, our staff in collaboration with other RWJ Hamilton staff helped achieve another A as our Leapfrog rating in 2020. Our staff are decentralized in the ICU, telemetry and medical/surgical units in order to provide medication therapy review and management utilizing a pharmacy surveillance system that monitors for over 160 medication related issues in real time. This, in collaboration with all members of the healthcare team, patients and their care givers, provide quality, evidence-based, cost effective care to help achieve our mission and vision.

Our Antimicrobial Stewardship Taskforce is a successful example of pharmacy’s impact on overall outcomes. Not only has the team improved utilization and outcome indicators, but have also reduced dollars spent on antimicrobials in 2020, illustrating that quality care can be achieved with savings. Besides the outpatient anticoagulation service that is offered, Medical Staff approved protocols are used by inpatient pharmacists to manage anticoagulation therapy and vancomycin initial dosing. Our pharmacists are also members of and respond to all Rapid Response Team and Code Team alerts. Pharmacy is also active in patient education. We provide medication related sessions in orthopedic, antibiotic use education and various community education events and fairs. Pharmacy staff has also taken the lead in the formulation of an opiate Stewardship Taskforce to better measure, assess and determine improvements in opiate use to maximize benefit to our patients while reducing the risks that are associated with opiate use.

Through our Medication Assistance Navigator, the department assists our patients in obtaining financial support to medications, especially in our cancer center where medications are expensive but vital. This support is achieved by either obtaining medication replacement from the manufacturer or by obtaining co-insurance assistance. This effort has saved patients almost $725,000 in 2020.

In keeping with our commitment to our own profession, our staff precepted 26 pharmacy and pharmacy technician students this year, not only from the Rutgers College of Pharmacy but from 6 other out of state schools as far away as Nebraska. Our staff prides itself on helping develop highly qualified practitioners and giving back to our own profession and community. We maintained our Knight Scholar program with our affiliation with Ernest Mario College of Pharmacy where we take students for a period of four clinical rotations where they are exposed to clinical, administrative and leadership which enhances the overall experience for them and their development.

Lastly, cannot mention 2020 without speaking about COVID. We did so many great things during this awful pandemic, but our greatest achievement was really coming together as a team. We retimed medications so nursing did not have to enter rooms as frequently. We brought on pharmacy runners to help get our critical drips to the ICU as timely as possible. We entered an EAP with Gilead which turned into an EUA. We did so many things to enhance patient care there are just too many to list. We look forward to 2021 with resolve and confidence as we are truly a team of one.

RWJ University Hospital at Hamilton Pharmacy Leadership

Jonathan Margolin, MHA, RPh

Jonathan Margolin, MHA, RPh
Director of Pharmacy Services

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Suzanne Caravella, PharmD, RPh
Clinical Coordinator

Christine Maziarz, CPhT

Christine Maziarz, CPhT
Lead Technician

David Appel, PharmD

David Appel, PharmD
Pharmacy Operations Manager