University of South Florida

Taneja College of Pharmacy expands personalized medicine in collaboration with Tampa General Hospital

The USF Health Taneja College of Pharmacy is expanding its pharmacogenomics efforts by launching a new collaboration with Tampa General Hospital and its pharmacy team that will allow clinicians to tailor medications based on a patient’s genetic makeup. Plans include developing clinical decision support tools in the electronic health record (EHR)to support clinicians in interpreting results and guide treatment options in the presence of pharmacogenetic data.

“Our knowledge of the associations between medications and genes is evolving and published evidence exists for the many ways our own genes may predict our response to medications,” said Teresa Ho, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor of pharmacotherapeutics and clinical research in the Taneja College of Pharmacy.

“Every patient responds differently to a medication and that may in part be explained by pharmacogenetics”

Plans for the new collaboration are underway, including identifying key stakeholders, conducting a needs assessment, and coordinating with IT teams and internal laboratories. The program’s initial efforts will require educating both TGH and USF Health providers about the project and the value of pharmacogenetic-guided treatments with a goal to eventually set up critical notifications within the EHR so that prescribing providers are alerted to any drug-gene interactions.

The pharmacogenomics expansion is also a way to expand TCOP educational opportunities, providing training and clinical rotation options for pharmacy students and residents.

Pharmacogenomics has been a focus of TCOP since its founding in 2011, and is a central component of the services offered in its Pharmacy Plus, located on the first floor in the Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare on the USF campus in north Tampa. TCOP has since expanded the pharmacogenomics service by partnering with the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine’s Division of Genetics and Metabolism.

“Pharmacogenomics represents an opportunity to get beyond trial-and-error prescribing of medication while implementing more predictable precision to patient’s medication therapies,” said Kevin B. Sneed, PharmD, FNAP, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the Taneja College of Pharmacy. “Our pharmacist graduates will become the next wave of clinicians to transform this promising portion of healthcare delivery.”

This newest expansion with TGH, while in its infancy, carries that expertise even closer to direct patient care. “We are excited to partner with the Taneja College of Pharmacy to expand pharmacogenomic services at Tampa General Hospital in the near future so that our patients, providers and pharmacists can work together toward the development of individualized care,” said Maja Gift, MHA, RPh, CPh, administrator of Pharmacy Services at Tampa General Hospital.

“Pharmacogenomics is another piece of information that clinicians can use to help optimize the patient’s treatment regimen and minimize side effects,” Dr. Ho said. “By placing the results discretely in the electronic health record, we can build an infrastructure that can preemptively alert providers to any high-risk genetic results before the prescription is sent to the pharmacy and picked up by the patient.”


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