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Greenwich Pharmacist Catches the 'Biggies'

Most of Sleepy Hollow resident Glen Taylor's work at Greenwich Hospital passes without much notice. Seldom do the patients realize that the clinical pharmacist, hidden behind the doctors and surgeons, is a vital part of their medical team.

“Many patients are not fully aware that pharmacists have come from behind the scenes to play a critical role in preventing medication errors, advising prescribers on the best drug choices and working directly with patients to ensure they understand how to use their medications safely and effectively,” said Taylor, administrative director of the Pharmacy Department at Greenwich Hospital.

Taylor and the other Greenwich Hospital pharmacists monthly catch up to 140 potential medication problems the doctors might have missed. Most doctors are specialists these days and don't always know what has been prescribed at each step in a patient's care.

“We do catch some biggies, and quite often,” Taylor said, comparing his role to a gatekeeper whose job is to stop errors from getting through. “But it is all part of the normal process.”

Taylor, who has been a pharmacist for 18 years, said the Internet has created a double-edged sword in medicine. Patients are more informed, but they are also taking matters into their own hands and tracking down medications on their own. And self-medicating in this manner can pose serious risks.

Taylor understands that cost is a major concern. As prices rise and the pharmacists become more involved in patient care, the price tag becomes important. Making sure the right drugs and dosages are prescribed, and adjustments are made as a disease and treatment progresses, helps keep the costs down.

To help patients understand the role of pharmacists in their care, Greenwich Hospital is promoting Pharmacy Week. From Oct. 16 to 22, hospital pharmacists will man tables in the hospital's main lobby and offer information on what the pharmacy team does for the patients and how the field has advanced over the years.

“Pharmacy Week is a great way to educate the public and our own health care colleagues about how pharmacists can help patients get the most benefit from their medicine,” said Taylor.

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