Koula Tsahas, director of Pharmacy at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, was the recipient of the Indiana Hospital Association’s Patient Safety Service & Leadership Award during its 2019 Patient Safety Summit in Plainfield.
Brian Tabor, president, Indiana Hospital Association, said Tsahas was recognized on June 4 for the role she plays to empower her team to keep patients safe.
The Indiana Hospital Association award is presented to an individual who has shown exemplary service to improve patient safety within his or her hospital, health system, regional patient safety coalition or professional organization. Recipients are involved in initiatives and successfully rally others in their organization to participate in patient safety initiatives and other significant contributions to decrease patient harms and readmissions.
“Koula leads by example as all aspects of her daily work revolve around her conviction that we’re here because of our patients and our patients come first,” Tabor said. “She goes above and beyond to instill this ethic in her pharmacy staff and shares this vision with all hospital staff, providers, managers, and administration through her participation in various hospital committees and daily interactions.”
“To be recognized by so many talented and caring healthcare providers in our state is humbling and an honor I greatly appreciate,” said Tsahas, a Community Healthcare System employee since 1994.
As supervisor and manager of St. Catherine Hospital’s inpatient and outpatient pharmacies and ambulatory clinic, Tsahas promotes education for patients on medication management. She encourages open communication with the patient’s health team and promotes access to affordable drug therapies and education to improve compliance and reduce hospital admissions.
Tsahas has overseen multiple targeted clinical initiatives to reduce potential harms from medications, including enhanced pharmacist monitoring of patients receiving medications for anticoagulation, diabetes and pain. She has also worked on initiatives to identify potential safety improvements to electronic health records, along with reporting, tracking and trending of medication variances and near miss occurrences.
In 2013, Tsahas helped open the outpatient retail pharmacy that has helped patients transition from hospital-to-home with the correct medications. Its “Meds-to-Beds” patient advocate program, assists patients by calling physicians for cost-effective alternative medications, working with insurance companies and providing coupons and patient assistance programs when needed. Recently, she worked with a team to relaunch the hospital’s Nice Catch/Near Miss program.
In addition to her role with annual hospital-wide activities, such as Patient Safety Awareness Week, U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and Sepsis Awareness Month, Tsahas chairs the Northwest Indiana Patient Safety Coalition and leads its Antimicrobial Stewardship workgroup.
Tsahas also joined Madeline Wilson, Quality and Patient Safety Advisor at Indiana Hospital Association on a panel discussion about St. Catherine Hospital’s approaches to patient safety.
For more information on St. Catherine Hospital, visit www.COMHS.org