By Sam Hostettler
The College of Pharmacy has received a $4.25 million federal grant to develop programs for safer medication use, including tools for detecting drug risks, training physicians, preventing medication errors and making drug information easier to understand.
“Patients are not as safe as they should be,” says Bruce Lambert, professor of pharmacy administration and director of UIC’s Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTS), which will manage the program. “Medication errors and inappropriate use of medicines, by health professionals and patients, cause a great deal of harm.”
The center will develop, test, and distribute tools and training materials in four areas: statistical methods for large-scale studies of comparative drug safety and effectiveness, opioid prescribing and dosing for acute pain; methods for preventing and detecting drug name confusion errors; and plain-language drug information.
The grant is a continuation of a study that began in 2007, when UIC was named one of 10 new CERTS organizations throughout the nation. Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Health and Human Services department, UIC was tasked to design and test systems to optimize drug choice, drug monitoring and drug safety.
The new grant is one of only six that were awarded in the current round of funding, and the only center of its kind headquartered in a college of pharmacy.
The CERTS program was authorized by Congress in 1997 to examine the benefits, risks and cost-effectiveness of therapeutic products and to educate patients and caregivers.
The mission of CERTS is to conduct research and provide education that will advance the optimal use of drugs, medical devices, and biological products; increase awareness of the benefits and risks of therapeutics; and improve quality while cutting the costs of care.
UIC will continue to host the center, and will be assisted by Rush University Medical Center; Northwestern University; University of Chicago; the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; the Institute for Safe Medication Practices; Horsham, Pa.; and the National Patient Safety Foundation, Boston.
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