This March, as part of Pharmacy Appreciation Month, we want to celebrate the important contributions that pharmacy professionals make to the CST Project. From validating the design of CST Cerner early on, to supporting functionality and patient safety practices once the system is live at a site, pharmacy professionals play a big role. They help ensure our staff and patients can realize the full benefits of CST.

1. Validating the medication function in CST Cerner

Every time a site prepares to go live with CST Cerner, new medications are “built” into the system. Pharmacists on the CST Project team help make sure that, from ordering, to dispensing, the medication function in the system is working accurately end-to-end.

Dr. Roxane Carr, Clinical Coordinator, Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services at BC Children’s and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre (C&W)  has seen this process work for her site, which went live with CST Cerner on February 26, 2022. “The CST Medication Management team pharmacists collaborate with pharmacists, physicians and nurses at each site to validate medication ordering, compounding, administration and documentation.  They are playing a key role in helping to optimize the system to support the unique needs of C&W patients. This includes sick neonates, children, pregnant people, children and adults with cancer, healthy pregnant people during labour and delivery and their healthy newborns,” says Carr.

2. Putting the right ‘Pharmacy Supply Chain’ system in place

When a health care site switches to CST Cerner, its existing pharmacy operations need to be upgraded to bring a new streamlined method to manage purchasing, receiving and inventory. Known as the ‘Pharmacy Supply Chain module’, this system is more user-friendly, providing pharmacy professionals with helpful reporting and a central way to track inventory. Putting this system in place requires months of planning by a dedicated CST team in collaboration with site pharmacy operations.

3. Supporting Best Possible Medication History for patients

Best Possible Medication History (BPMH) requires that a provider or clinician interview a patient, and review at least one other reliable source of information, to obtain and verify their medications as part of their patient record. The familiarity of pharmacy professionals with medications and their precise attention to detail helps ensure the right information, including allergies or important notes, is accurately captured.

Insights from Winnie Ma, Pharmacy Distribution Coordinator, St. Paul’s Hospital and Mount Saint Joseph Hospital at Providence Health Care (PHC): “We have a BPMH team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in the pre-admission clinic, emergency departments at SPH/MSJ and the kidney transplant clinic. They collect comprehensive medication history from each patient and/or their caregivers to accurately document this in CST Cerner.  The team is detailed in documenting BPMH, including, for example, drug name, dose, route, frequency, duration, last dose taken, adherence, special instructions, etc.”

4. Optimizing computerized provider order entry

With computerized provider order entry (CPOE) in CST Cerner, providers place orders in the electronic system (rather than on paper). These orders are then documented into the patient’s electronic chart. One of the key ways that pharmacy professionals support this process is by ensuring the real-time orders that they receive are reviewed clinically for accuracy and completeness.

Dennis Jang, Professional Practice Lead at BC Cancer’s Vancouver centre pharmacy describes this process, “Pharmacists providing patient care in the Pain and Symptom Management Clinic, Ambulatory Care areas, and Inpatient unit have a complete profile of the patient medication history in CST Cerner.  They can then assist in identifying drug-related problems and making clinical interventions to provide the best care possible. Any concerns regarding the order, such as dosing, laboratory results and other test results, are followed up in a timely manner.”

5. Leveraging CST Cerner data for better patient care

Pharmacy professionals across the region have been working in electronic systems for over a quarter of a century. They are well-versed in leveraging data and technology in their day-to-day work. Data reported and tracked through CST Cerner is helping guide pharmacy decision making, that will ultimately improve patient care. Here are a few examples:​

  • CST Cerner helps track key performance indicators to ensure medication treatments are provided in a timely manner.
  • Alerts in CST Cerner help providers become aware of drug interactions and backorders if medications are unavailable.
  • Data in CST Cerner helps inform Patient Safety Learning System (PSLS) investigations and safety evaluations for existing pharmacy workflows.

The overall number of CST Cerner users is set to increase from ~21,000 to more than ~40,000 with the CST project rolling out to more than 40 facilities across Vancouver Coastal Health, Provincial Health Services Authority and Providence Health Care. Learn more: