Experts Available to Discuss Medication Errors


TOPIC: A report from the Institute of Medicine states 1.5 million people are injured every year as a result of medication errors, according to an article by Reuters. The institute suggests electronic prescribing of medications to reduce errors, as patients would be automatically informed of possible drug interactions and allergies. The report also claims 7,000 people die each year in the United States due to medication errors.

EXPERTS: ExpertSource can offer several highly qualified experts to comment on this story:

Jerry Blair is vice president of business operations for CDEX Inc.,, developer of ValiMed, a quick, cost effective, and simple tool to further ensure medication safety by verifying medications are correctly compounded. Prior to joining CDEX, from 1988 to 1998, Mr. Blair held various roles within Cerner Corporation, a leading software supplier to the healthcare market. He was Product Manager for PharmNet, Cerner's pharmacy solution, and business unit manager for all of Cerner's pharmacy business. He also served as Clinical Marketing Manager. In 1998, he joined CareInsite, a Cerner investment that was eventually purchased by WebMD. He returned to Cerner in 2000 as Director, Medication Process Solutions where he remained until joining CDEX in 2004. Earlier in his career, Mr. Blair practiced hospital pharmacy and served as manager of professional services in the pharmaceutical industry. Mr. Blair earned his bachelor's degree in pharmacy from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He received his MBA in executive management at Rockhurst College, also in Kansas City.

Diane Cousins, R.Ph. is vice president of the department of patient safety, standards division for the U.S. Pharmacopeia, a private, non-profit, standards-setting organization. Cousins is a well-recognized expert in the field of safe medication use. She leads USP's Center for the Advancement of Patient Safety, has studied medication errors for nearly 25 years and frequently serves as an expert source for the trade and consumer media. Under her direction, reporting programs have become a significant component of the USP's standards-setting processes. In 1995-96, she organized the first USP Advisory Panel on Medication Errors and spearheaded the development of the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. She currently serves as the USP delegate and Secretary to this National Council. In 1998, Ms. Cousins was instrumental in the creation of USP's MEDMARXR, a national anonymous, Internet-accessible database for reporting hospital medication errors and adverse events. She is an advisor to several national error reduction projects and grants and in October 2004 was appointed to the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) Sentinel Event Advisory Group. Ms. Cousins is on the Editorial Advisory Board for JCAHO's Perspectives on Patient Safety and is a member of the National Quality Forum Patient Safety Taxonomy Consensus Standards Maintenance Committee and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Medication Safety Expert Panel. In April 2006, Ms. Cousins was invited to become an inaugural member of the International Steering Committee for the new World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety. She is available to discuss several patient safety topics, including medication error monitoring; medication technology; drug naming, packaging and labeling; consumer tips for safe medication use; and national taxonomy to coordination reporting programs.

Dr. Timothy McNamara is the chief medical officer (CMO) of Health Gate Data Corp. Currently, he also serves as Assistant Professor and Medical Director of the University of Kansas Medical Center's Center for Healthcare Informatics. With a combined 12 years of experience in medicine and IT product development, Dr. McNamara has focused on creating technology-based solutions for improving the clinical process and patient care quality. Most recently at University of Kansas, he led efforts to integrate advanced information technology into clinical practice, medical education and consumer education. As Vice President of Content Development at Cerner Corporation, he directed research initiatives on the delivery of evidence-based clinical information to healthcare professionals. Dr. McNamara holds two patents on computerized drug dosage and electronic prescription development. He also has won several awards including two for Small Business Innovator Research from the National Institute for Health (NIH) and one from Smith, Kline, Beecham for publishing a computerized French-language journal of public health for health workers in the country formerly known as Zaire. A member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, recipient of a four-year academic scholarship from Tulane's School of Medicine and the beneficiary of a full Fellowship from Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Dr. McNamara earned his MD and MPH from Tulane University in 1991. He trained in internal medicine at the Oschner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans and did his residency in Internal Medicine at St. Paul Medical Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Affiliated Hospital, in Dallas.

Dr. Edmund Pezalla oversees PBM Prescription Solutions' clinical and research activities. His goal is to continue developing a world-class research organization for pharmacoeconomic and managed care initiatives while maintaining the highest standards for formulary and guideline development. Dr. Pezalla has a strong background in public policy and population management as well as disease management programs and cost benefit analyses.

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