Bill Olney Wins USPHS Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award

Olney received the award for his work with the Augusta University Collaborative Health Initiative, or AUCHI.  Olney and CAP Clinical Assistant Professor Andrea Newsome tell the tale:

At The University of Georgia College of Pharmacy’s Augusta satellite campus, students are taking patient care a step further. The Augusta University Collaborative Health Initiative, or AUCHI, is a newly developed program across the different student professions which seeks to benefit frequent users of the healthcare system. The program was designed after the “Hotspotting” program that was developed by Dr. Jeffrey Brenner in Camden, New Jersey. Dr. Brenner observed that the majority of healthcare dollars were being used on a small subset of patients called “super-utilizers” and that by focusing on these patients, both patient outcomes and healthcare expenditures could potentially be reduced. The AUCHI program recruits students from the medical school, nursing school, physical therapy school, and pharmacy school on the Augusta campus to form a patient care team to work with these high-risk patients.

“Being able to navigate the healthcare system from a different view point with an interprofessional team has been such a great experience. I’ve been able to see firsthand the different barriers patients have when it comes to healthcare. It has been unique and I’ve learned so much about teamwork, and seeking the best outcomes for patients,” says Bill Olney, a current 4th year Doctor of Pharmacy student and one of the founding members of AUCHI. AUCHI team members arrange home visits with patients to learn more about the patient, learn about their goals and struggles within the healthcare system, and learn about the patient’s life. The team also arranges primary care visits, attends appointments, and assists in medication acquisition to help patients better understand their healthcare. AUCHI worked with one patient in the pilot of their program in Spring 2018 but is expanding to 3 teams starting Fall 2018. Two 3rd year Doctor of Pharmacy students, Sydney Finder and Katie Fitton, will be joining the team this year!

By aiding these “frequent flyers” of the healthcare system, more dollars and resources can be directed to other patients in the health system.  Bill says, “The healthcare system is getting more and more crowded and the funds continue to diminish. Every patient is unique, and some just require more teaching, more love, and more care than others. We hope to be the mesh point to help both these patients and free up resources to be able to care for more and more patients.”

AUCHI is an excellent example of The University of Georgia College of Pharmacy students finding innovative ways to help patients.

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