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Advocate Health Care, Abbott to explore how nutrition protocols reduce readmission rates

BY Michael Johnsen

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Advocate Health Care and Abbott on Monday announced a major research program to demonstrate how nutrition protocols can reduce both patients' readmission rates and costs in the hospital.
  
The program is a collaboration between Advocate Health Care, Russell Institute for Research & Innovation at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, the Center for Applied Value Analysis and Abbott. The study will enroll 3,000 adult patients admitted to four Advocate hospitals, making this one of the largest U.S. studies to gather information on the effectiveness of nutrition interventions in real-world settings. 
 
The prospective study will follow patients in real time from admission through 30 days after discharge to determine the impact rapid nutritional intervention has on decreasing 30-day readmission rates. According to the study's design, all patients will receive nutritional screenings upon being admitted. At two of the hospitals, malnourished and those at-risk patients will quickly receive nutritional treatment (an oral nutrition supplement) 24 to 48 hours sooner than standard practice. The patients enrolled at these two hospitals will also receive additional education, a discharge nutrition care plan and post-discharge reminder calls. 
 
 
The readmission rates at these two "pilot" hospitals will then be compared with the readmission rates among malnourished patients who received the current standard of care at the other two hospitals. 
 
"Our goal for this study goes far beyond demonstrating what Advocate Health Care can do to improve the quality of care for our patients," said Tom Summerfelt, VP research and innovation, Advocate Health Care. "As the largest accountable care organization in the country and one of the largest health systems in the Midwest, we have the broad patient population to provide real-world evidence of the value of nutrition interventions in improving patient outcomes, lowering costs and reducing readmission rates. No matter what the size of the hospital, these findings should have relevance because they demonstrate what is possible and can be implemented quickly."
 
The impetus for this large-scale study is the need to accelerate the adoption of effective nutrition practices in hospitals. Today, it is estimated that up to 50% of patients are either malnourished or at risk for malnutrition when they enter the hospital, and many will experience a nutritional decline during their stay.
 
Although numerous studies link the effective treatment of malnutrition in hospitals with 14% fewer overall medical complications and a 28% drop in avoidable hospital readmissions, hospitals are only now starting to recognize the impact in reducing healthcare costs and avoidable hospital readmissions.  
 
"A large-scale study of this kind will help show the real health outcomes that nutrition can have for patients in the hospital," said Robert Miller, divisional VP R&D, scientific and medical affairs at Abbott Nutrition. "As a healthcare company and leader in science-based nutrition, Abbott is committed to working in partnership with key researchers and institutions to demonstrate the impact nutrition can have in improving the quality of care and reducing health costs in today's demanding hospital environment."  
 
The study will start enrolling patients this month and findings will be released in 2015. 
 
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Jack Dunn named 2014 NCPA Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

AUSTIN, Texas — The National Community Pharmacists Association announced that Jack Dunn, owner of Jasper Drugs and Gifts in Jasper, Ga., was named the 2014 NCPA Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year.

Dunn received his award on Oct. 19 at the First General Session of the 116th Annual NCPA Convention and Trade Exposition held Oct. 18 to 22 in Austin. Upsher-Smith Laboratories sponsored the award.

The Independent Pharmacist of the Year award recognizes an independent pharmacist for exemplary leadership and commitment to independent pharmacy and to their community. The award is named in honor of someone who exemplified these qualities: Willard B. Simmons, a former executive secretary of NCPA and long-time NCPA Foundation trustee.

“We are excited to name Jack Dunn as the 2014 NCPA Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year award winner,” said Mark Riley, NCPA president, EVP and CEO of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, and an independent pharmacy owner in Little Rock, Ark. “Jack has followed in the footsteps of his father to become an outstanding pharmacy owner in his own right. He is also a tireless advocate for independent community pharmacies in the state of Georgia and at the national level. It is because of the vision of leaders like Jack that America’s independent community pharmacies continue to stand out in the highly competitive pharmacy marketplaces.”

Dunn’s experience in pharmacy began before attending the Mercer School of Pharmacy. He worked in a variety of capacities at Jasper Drugs and Gifts growing up, because his father had cofounded the business in 1952. After obtaining his degree and license, Dunn went to work at the pharmacy full time, and eventually became the owner in 1979. In the ensuing decades he expanded the pharmacy, as well as the services available to patients. From compounding of specially tailored drugs to diabetes and asthma education, Dunn’s patient-focused, comprehensive approach helps improve patient outcomes.
 
In 2012, Dunn was one of five pharmacists in America to receive the McKesson Award for Diabetic Excellence. Dunn has opened up a second pharmacy in Marble Hill, Ga., to accommodate his growing customer base.

He has been an active member of the Georgia Pharmacy Association since 1973. His leadership skills culminated in him being named president from 2011 to 2012 and being chair of the board of directors. Dunn has also been actively involved with NCPA over the years.
 
“Upsher-Smith recognizes the increasingly important role that independent and community pharmacists play in health care today,” said Mark Evenstad, president and CEO of Upsher-Smith Laboratories. “We are proud to support the NCPA in honoring these dedicated individuals, who improve the lives of patients and serve their communities."
 

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Tic Tac to bewitch retail shelves

BY Ryan Chavis

NEW YORK — Tic Tac mints, a brand from Ferrero U.S.A., is introducing a new treat for Halloween. The brand's limited-edition Bewitching Blend contains a mix of orange- and apple-flavored pills. 
 
The festive candies will be available at select grocery and conveience stores across the country throughout October and November. The suggested retail price is $1.29. 
 
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