Written By: Daniel Mansour, PharmD, CGP, FASCP, and Nicole Brandt, PharmD, MBA, CGP, BCPP, FASCP

Earlier this year, consultant pharmacists in Maryland gained unprecedented, “glass-shattering,” “opt-out” access to the state of Maryland’s health information exchange (HIE) platform — Chesapeake Regional Information System for Our Patients (CRISP) — providing them with immediate and universal access to their patients’ health data, namely:

  • Basic medication list
  • Demographics
  • Encounter data and care plans
  • Lab results
  • Maryland’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)
  • Medical history and physicals
  • Operative and consult notes
  • Radiology reports and images
  • Transition of care summaries
  • Vaccination history

Consultant pharmacists are now joining their colleagues from other health care disciplines who have access to the health information exchange platform in hospitals, major radiology centers, skilled nursing facilities, post-acute, long-term care facilities, ambulatory practices, and physician practices, and laboratories across Maryland and Washington, DC. Before gaining access to this platform, pharmacists working in post-acute, long-term care settings often had limited health information readily available about their patients, especially during transitions in care, which placed this vulnerable patient population at greater risk for potential adverse medication events and other medication-related problems.

Having the opportunity to view patient-provider health care relationships, prior admissions, and payer submitted risk scores, as well as make timely assessments and decisions about patient care based on the information available in CRISP, represents a historic milestone for consultant pharmacists. In addition to providing pharmacists with access to important patient information, this significant achievement presents a tremendous opportunity for the members of our profession to educate other health care providers, administrators, CRISP employees, leaders at the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC), and patients about why pharmacists need access to this information and how having this access can help us better perform our vital role as integral members of the health care team.

A Pioneering Journey

The road to achieving this milestone was neither easy nor predictable. The journey began in Spring 2013, when a representative from CRISP delivered a presentation at one of consultant pharmacy’s professional regional conferences about how to report controlled substance usage to the state’s PDMP to satisfy a mandate put in place by the state. However, the presentation made no mention of CRISP’s clinical portal. Upon learning that CRISP had a much broader use, the faculty and staff at the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the School of Pharmacy formed a taskforce that rallied consultant pharmacists and members of the Maryland chapter of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. The taskforce had one goal: to start a dialogue with leadership at both MHCC and CRISP and request access to the state-sponsored HIE’s full patient data to complete our consults.

After many meetings, conference calls, presentations, deliberations, and a 12-page research paper over the last three years, we can now confidently say that MHCC and CRISP fully understand why consultant pharmacists need access to much more than a basic medication list to serve their patients’ clinical needs. The additional information that a consultant pharmacist can now access through CRISP in the course of providing care for their patients will not only impact the lives of their patients, but also help to pave the path towards better humanistic, clinical, and economic outcomes.

A Tremendous Team Effort

There were many individuals who were and continue to be involved in promoting pharmacists access to health information. A special thank you to the following consultant pharmacists for their work on this initiative:

  • Thomas J. Griffin, RPh (PharMerica)
  • Marylee Grosso, RPh (Genesis Healthcare)
  • Jennifer Hardesty, PharmD, FASCP (Remedi Senior Care)
  • Bruce Krug, PharmD (Omnicare)
  • Paul Ortiz, PharmD, CGP, BCPS (Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center)
  • Linda Smith, RPh, CGP (Independent Consultant Pharmacist)
  • Jennifer Thomas, PharmD (Delmarva Foundation)

Consultant pharmacists who would like to register or need more information about CRISP should visit For additional resources about drug therapy and the elderly, please visit the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging.

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