Faster, Better Testing For COVID; Physician Researchers At Renown Health And UNR Med Seek Convalescent Plasma Study Participants
Physician researchers seek to understand how the immune system responds to COVID-19 and create a healthier Nevada. During the early stages of the pandemic, convalescent plasma was considered the only viable treatment option available for patients with COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is the component of the blood from recovered patients that may contain COVID-19 antibodies that help fight the infection. The National Institutes of Health has since developed treatment guidelines for COVID-19 based on clinical trial data and many studies are still underway worldwide assessing various additional treatment options. Convalescent plasma was in high demand but difficult to locate for COVID-19 patients in the northern Nevada area. A 24-year-old nursing assistant, Austin Meegan, was hospitalized and spent weeks staving off kidney and lung failure before learning he was eligible for an experimental blood transfusion that showed promise in treating COVID-19. Doctors estimated Meegan had only about a 3% chance of tracking down a donor to match his rare blood type. A COVID-19 survivor, Thomas Gibson, a Texas resident with the same blood type, traveled to Reno to donate his viral antibodies and a convalescent plasma donation credited with helping to save Meegan’s life. Physician clinical researchers and scientists at Renown and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) knew they needed to create better options for patients and physicians. Clinical researchers developed a study to help other patients like Austin, and pleaded for donations from recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their convalescent plasma. The researcher teams looked to understand how the body’s immune system responds to the virus over time, to aid them in developing new treatments for COVID-19. “The world’s capacity to get through the COVID crisis will depend on four things — science, technology, innovation and partnerships, says Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President and CEO of Renown Health. “Taking lab bench discoveries to the bedside of patients in an efficacious and timely manner is not easy, but with UNR Med and our partners, we are making great strides in advancing clinical research which has the power to save lives and to create a healthier Nevada.” “It’s tremendously promising to partner on clinical research that will not only help us better understand the disease, but help inform treatment for those combatting COVID-19 that has had such a devastating impact on Nevadans, our nation and the world,” says UNR Med Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, MD. Renown, UNR Med and other area health care partners collaborated with Vitalant to collect plasma from recovered donors for a study on the treatment's efficacy. Eligible donors are at least 18 years old, weigh more than 110 pounds and are healthy. Donors had fully recovered from a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. Project coordinators at the Renown Research Office were overwhelmed by the community’s support and plasma blood donations. Additional partnerships with the Washoe County Health District, the State of Nevada and the Governor’s office, Saint Mary’s Medical Center, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Carson Tahoe Health and the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System, along with many area health care providers helped the team meet their goals of enrolling 120 eligible participants in the study. “Our success in this study rests heavily on the support of our great community, as well as the innovation and collaboration demonstrated by Renown and UNR Med,” said Sara Healy, MD, MPH, principal investigator of the study and a pediatric infectious disease physician at Renown Children’s Hospital and UNR Med. “We are proud to be at the forefront of conducting essential research during such a pivotal time in history, and look forward to our continued partnership as we continue this important work.” “The control of COVID-19 in our communities relies on testing. The study that is being launched to develop a sensitive, specific and easier way to collect specimens (blood) is advancing the field and brings promise towards getting to our common goal of having the right diagnostic test for the right clinical situation at the right time,” says Mark Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM, associate investigator of the study and associate dean for clinical research and professor at UNR Med's Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Research. The research team is now asking area residents to participate in a study to analyze the efficacy of two COVID-19 tests. Participants will undergo two blood tests: one being a finger stick to provide results for a rapid test, and the other is a traditional venipuncture draw confirming the presence or absence of COVID-19 antibodies. This study is a collaboration with InBios International, Inc., a leading biotechnology company based in Seattle. Researchers are seeking: Individuals who have confirmed positive for COVID-19 and who have recently recovered from the virus. Study participants must be within 7-28 days from the onset of their symptoms. Individuals who have recently tested negative for COVID-19 and have never tested positive. Those who are interested in participating in the study may contact project coordinators at the Renown Research Office at (775) 982-3646, or via e-mail at email@example.com, 7:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. Individuals aged 18-75 in general good health are encouraged to consider participating in this ongoing study. There is no cost to participate in this study and participation is voluntary. An individual’s decision to participate will not affect their current or future relations with their health care provider(s), health district, or the community. Those who decide to participate are free to withdraw at any time. “Time is of the essence with COVID. If we can get test results to people and their clinicians in a more timely way, we can make a faster diagnosis of a patient's condition, says Christopher M. Kozlowski, MD, MHA, Renown's institutional research officer and Medical Director/VP of Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health. “As we refine the accuracy of our testing; we are applying sensitivity and specificity testing for true negative and true positive results. This provides people with more timely and accurate results and better quality care.” About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to improve the care and the health of our community. About the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), Nevada’s first medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion. For more information, visit med.unr.edu.
Adam D. Porath, Pharm.D., BCACP, BCPS-AQ Cardiology is promoted to serve future generations and improve the health and well-being of Nevadans. Renown Health is excited to announce Dr. Adam Porath has been promoted to vice president, pharmacy to lead clinical pharmacy and pharmacy operations and ensure excellent care for patients and families. “We are pleased to promote an experienced and talented leader like Dr. Adam Porath,” said Dawn D Ahner, DSc, FACHE, Chief Operating Officer, Acute Services. “Adam will continue to foster a culture of caring and excellence, while ensuring the highest level of pharmacy practice and experience for both care providers and patients.” Dr. Porath has served in roles within pharmacy at Renown since 2006. Since June 2020, he has served as Interim Director of Pharmacy where he has led strategic planning for pharmacy operations, precepted students and residents, identified business growth opportunities, developed novel clinical pharmacy services and oversaw quality assurance of pharmacy operations. He began his career as a pharmacy practice resident at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. “I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve the medical community and patients of Renown Health,” said Dr. Porath. “What a source of pride it is to be able to deliver the high-quality, compassionate patient care Renown is known for, and to help serve and lead in the pharmacy profession.” Dr. Porath received his doctor of pharmacy degree from Idaho State University. He is a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist with added qualifications in cardiology and board certified ambulatory care pharmacist. Dr. Porath has a BS in Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Porath serves as adjunct clinical faculty for several colleges of pharmacy including the University of New England, Oregon State University, University of New Mexico, Idaho State University and University of Wyoming. He has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including CHEST, Clinical Infectious Diseases, and the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Here in Nevada, Dr. Porath successfully lobbied the Nevada Legislature on behalf of the Nevada Society of Health System Pharmacists (NVSHP) to pass Collaborative Drug Therapy Management (CDTM) legislation in 2011, permitting Nevada pharmacists to adjust drug therapy per physician-signed protocol in any practice setting, as long as the pharmacist is under a physician’s direct supervision. Currently, 48 states permit some degree of CDTM. In 2017, Adam helped to pass further expansion of the pharmacy practice act. He is currently serving as a director at large of the NVSHP board. Dr. Porath has served as a state of Nevada delegate to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) House of Delegates since 2012. In 2018, Dr. Porath was appointed to the Nevada Attorney General’s statewide partnership on the opioid crisis. In 2019, he was appointed to the ASHP Council on Public Policy. In U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital rankings, Renown South Meadows Medical Center was listed #1 in the State of Nevada. Renown Regional Medical Center was named #2 Best Hospital in Nevada. A hospital's score is based on multiple data categories, including patient outcomes, safety and volumes. Hospitals earning a high performing rating were significantly better than the national average. About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Heath, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project® . For more information, visit renown.org.
Renown Pharmacy Introduces New Program, Delivering Medications To Patients As They Leave The Hospital
Renown's Medications to Go program offers time-savings and convenience for patients and their families. It can be difficult leaving the hospital after a stay. Learning and understanding detailed care instructions and settling in to a new routine, can be an overwhelming experience for both patients and their caregivers. Plus, there’s the added inconvenience of visiting the pharmacy to pick up prescribed medications. Because it is so inconvenient, one-third of these prescriptions never reach the patient, and remain in a basket at the pharmacy, awaiting pick-up. Because the patient never takes their medication, recovery time can take longer, and in some cases, the patient goes without the needed medications and may be readmitted to the hospital. To make the process more convenient for patients and their families, Renown Pharmacy now offers a new Medications to Go program. Patients can now receive Medications to Go at Renown hospitals. Opting in when they arrive, and the day they leave, their medication will be hand-delivered to them in their room by a member of Renown’s pharmacy team, along with medication counseling by a Renown pharmacist. There is no additional cost for patients to use this service aside from their normal medication copays. “Medications to Go is another example of how we are using new approaches to deliver an excellent patient and customer experience, and helping people choose, access, experience and prefer Renown Health providers and hospitals,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, president and CEO of Renown. “We want to help our patients on their journey to health and wellness.” The Renown Pharmacy team has been recognized for several national best practice programs. A similar pilot program showed a 25 percent reduction in hospital readmission rates for patients with Medicaid insurance, emphasizing the need for the service for all patients at all Renown hospital locations. Since June 1, 2020, Medications to Go has been available to every patient at Renown Regional Medical Center, Renown South Meadows Medical Center and Renown Rehabilitation Hospital. “We’ve filled more than 1,600 prescriptions through the program to date,” said Adam Porath, Doctor of Pharmacy, and Renown’s interim director. “Patients are very happy – especially new moms and parents of our youngest patients at Renown Children’s Hospital.” About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Heath, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.
Renown Health announced today that it is now using ARxIUM’s Robotic IV Automation (RIVA) system in its pharmacy to streamline the production process of IV admixtures. RIVA is a fully automated compounding system designed to precisely and accurately prepare IV syringes and bags in hospital pharmacies. This state-of-the-art system is considered the gold standard when it comes to safety, effectiveness and precision in pharmacy technology. To operate the robot, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians load drugs into the machine, in addition to drug vials, syringes and IV bags. Everything that goes into RIVA receives a barcode as it’s loaded to help the robot identify each item. The operator then instructs the robot to create the drug and RIVA goes to work, allowing employees to go about other duties as the robot maximizes efficiency. RIVA validates each component during the admixture process including size, barcode and weight of each ingredient to ensure accuracy. For an added level of safety, RIVA uses high-intensity pulsed ultraviolet light for disinfection of all vial and bag parts prior to compounding the drugs. “The contamination of IV products usually comes from humans – from our skin, breath, hair or other particles in the air,” said Renown Regional Medical Center’s pharmacy manager, Derek Gillespie. “Plus, the repetitive process of a human mixing 100 items of the same thing and the possibility for distraction can lead to errors. By automating the complex admixture process using the RIVA system, we’re able to significantly reduce the risk of contamination and human error.” RIVA has the continuous capability to learn how to produce new admixtures through detailed programming done by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The system stores the information so it can recreate the drug whenever it’s instructed to do so. With the help of pharmacy staff, RIVA produces a batch of approximately 50 items at a time, and can make up to 500 admixtures a day. By using RIVA, the pharmacy’s goal is to have items available on hand to help meet patients’ needs quickly. Additionally, in the case of a drug shortage, RIVA would enable the pharmacy to make its own IV solutions or admix items unavailable for purchase. Only 27 pharmacies in the country currently use the RIVA system. Up until recently, Renown’s pharmacy team did all of its admixtures manually. “It’s exciting to have this new technology in our pharmacy and to know that at Renown Health, we are leveraging the latest technology out there to make our patients as safe as possible,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, president and CEO of Renown. “Our staff takes pride in using technology like the RIVA system as it allows them to hone their craft on the best technology in the field. We look forward to maximizing our IV production capabilities and fulfilling our patient’s needs more efficiently than ever thanks to RIVA and the incredible team that operates the robot.” For b-roll of RIVA in action and an interview from Derek Gillespie, click here. ### About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org About ARxIUM Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Buffalo Grove, Illinois, ARxIUM is an industry-leading developer of pharmacy automation, workflow and consulting solutions that improve safety, productivity and workflow. The company provides solutions to shared service centers and health system, hospital, long-term care, retail and government pharmacies. ARxIUM is the developer of the only fully automated IV compounding system in the market today, and offers automated packaging, dispensing, vial filling and high volume systems. In addition, the company provides inventory management, scheduling and workflow software, technical consulting, and system implementation assistance, among other services. ARxIUM is also the creator of the Pharmacy 4.0 approach, which seamlessly converges clinical pharmacy, central production and automation advancements into fully automated, interactive data processes. The approach allows pharmacies to better monitor and react in real-time to address patient care and medication delivery demands. For more information, visit www.arxium.com. Media Contact: Public Relations M: 775-691-7308 E: firstname.lastname@example.org