Changing the echo in the Tennessee mountains

Gen-Rx: First Runner up

With any patient outreach initiative it is important to look for new and innovative ways to make an impact. This is especially true when tackling the ever-changing problem of prescription drug abuse. At the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, we took an innovative approach to preventing prescription drug abuse.

Our philosophy is to educate ourselves and other health care providers about this problem, which led us to develop our Provider Toolkit. Working interprofessionally with students from other disciplines, we developed the toolkit to educate and empower those involved in delivering patient care. The goal of this collaborative effort was to educate health care 
providers about the scope of the problem at hand, provide useful tools for educating patients, and develop ways to help patients suffering from the disease of addiction.

Power of the toolkit

The Provider Toolkit is based on 10 universal precautions for prescribing controlled substances, which enlists the expertise of each health care provider involved in the care of the patient. The precautions are explained in detail through a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation that is delivered to providers by an interprofessional team of students. Part of the presentation includes an interactive video case study. Through this case study, the audience is able to see simple mistakes that could lead to prescription drug abuse.

Some examples demonstrated in the video case study include taking a poor medical history, performing an inadequate physical exam, and failing to counsel a patient about a new prescription. This video illustrates that the addiction isn’t just the patient’s fault—the entire health care team also played a role. The toolkit is useful for raising awareness and it provides a platform for all the materials discussed throughout the presentation. Check it out at .

Interdisciplinary reach

ETSU Generation Rx leaders Jake Peters and Brandie LeBlanc Clawson enjoy sharing information with young students at a local health fair.

We realized that our goal of preventing prescription drug abuse and misuse was a multi-faceted problem, and educating the youth was only one form of prevention. With this in mind, we had an idea to make this program not only a pharmacy program, but also health care provider program.

At ETSU, we have the privilege of being on a campus that houses the colleges of medicine, nursing, rehabilitative services, public health, and pharmacy. Within these colleges, all students are trained to do what is best for their patients. Having access to all of these health care providers allowed us to work as a team to develop and implement the Provider Toolkit. Our program has been a success because we have been willing to collaborate with other groups.

Collaboration is key

Since the founding of our program, we realized that collaborating with others was the best way to spread our message. Starting small, we engaged a local juvenile detention center as one of our first community partners. From this humble beginning, the word spread to other groups working with high-risk children such as the Boys and Girls Club and local school systems.

This past year, we expanded our program because we were willing to be innovative in our thinking and collaborate with other stakeholders. We extended our reach as far as Atlanta by collaborating with the Girls Scouts of Southern Appalachia, moved our western boundary to include Greeneville and Morristown by collaborating with the local school boards, and as far north as Saltville, VA, by partnering with a local church initiative. By finding new ways to reach patients, you will undoubtedly see positive results in the future as well.