Investigator Insights: HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Pharmacist-Initiated Linkage to Care

Published 10/11/2021
by Kathryn Edwards

In advance of Trellis Rx’s upcoming Expert Review of Recent Health System Specialty Pharmacy Research Studies webinar series, we’re sharing perspectives and take-aways from the pharmacist and pharmacy liaison investigators who will present their studies and findings.

Daniel Jude, PharmD, AAHIVP, CSP, serves as an ID clinical pharmacist at a health system in the Twin Cities Metro area. In his research study, Daniel examined the impact of integrating specialty pharmacy services and implementing a novel urgent EHR alert into emergency department experience for sexual assault victims and patients exposed to blood born pathogens. His findings showing how pharmacist-initiated linkage to care can enhance outcomes for HIV PEP patients were also recently highlighted in a recent Pharmacy Practice News article.

Want to learn more? Register for Trellis Rx’s CE webinar on October 19 at 1 p.m. ET.

Why did you choose to investigate this topic?
Daniel: I feel strongly that specialty pharmacy has unmet opportunities to not only expand services but also to help address health disparities by improving access to medications and other care, such as mental health services, for underserved patient populations.

In your opinion, what is the most interesting finding from your research?
Daniel: I didn’t notice the trend before completing this research study, but I was most struck by the difference in the loss to follow-up rate. While 80% of patients filling their prescription at an external were lost to follow-up, only about 40% of patients filling their prescription at the health system specialty pharmacy were lost to follow-up.

How does this study advance the health system specialty pharmacy practice?
Daniel: This study shows that health system specialty pharmacies can and should support their emergency departments with HIV prevention medications. Our direct access to patients, providers, and the EHR, combined with our expertise on specialty conditions and medications, make us uniquely positioned to drive access and outcomes for patients who are experiencing a challenging situation and coping with emotions ranging from frustration to trauma. Novel urgent EHR alerts like the one we implemented can help enhance the care and streamline the medication therapy journey for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) patients.

How do you hope your findings are used by other pharmacists or pharmacy liaisons?
Daniel: I hope other health system ID clinical pharmacist and pharmacy liaison practitioners can use this to justify expanding services and working more closely and collaboratively with their emergency departments providers and operations managers.

What advice would you offer other pharmacists who are interested in conducting research studies?
Daniel: Start with a solid, purposeful plan and work backwards from the goal outcome. Ask yourself, “Who would care about this idea or program, and how can I prove there is value here?” Be very consistent in how you collect data and assess patients.

Want to learn more? Register for Trellis Rx’s CE webinar on October 19 at 1 p.m. ET or click the image below to view Daniel’s poster presentation now.