University of Maryland

Fred Abramson, BS

Program Description

Fred Abramson, BS, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, teaches a required management class that has been in existence since 1989. "The course teaches students the principles to construct a practical framework for the operational management of a business of pharmacy. The creation of this curriculum was developed by an advisory committee that included community pharmacists, wholesalers and deans and faculty. There was a tremendous demand for this course," said Abramson.

Elements addressed in Abramson's course include controllable and uncontrollable variables in a free-market economy; workflow analysis; accounting; purchasing and inventory control; quality assurance, summarizing and interpreting of financial data for service and merchandising entities, and third party reimbursement issues. The course examines the current practical developments related to human resources management through integrating information on organizational behavior, psychology, economics, and law. The course also emphasizes communication skills; including behavioral interviewing, oral presentations, patient counseling and customer service.

In preparing students to deal with technology common in the field the Practice Lab links management curriculum to real world business needs. The practice lab is outfitted with, an automated dispensing system (Baker Cells), automated medication system (Pyxis MedStation), prescription processing software and robotic tools. The lab includes four private counseling rooms with video capabilities to allow students to finesse their patient counseling skills. Since a majority of the graduates of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy begin their careers in community pharmacy, they must be well prepared to practice effectively in high volume ambulatory settings where rapid decision-making is critical and the ability to communicate effectively with patients and prescribers is paramount." Abramson says.

Support for the development of the lab came entirely from outside funding. The Institute for the Advancement of Community Pharmacy provided a grant of $100,000. Rite Aid Corporation provided a $100,000 gift and manpower to merchandise the shelves, as well as donating stock. Merck & Co. also provided significant funding. Giant Foods donated the funds to purchase the computers and provided additional monies for yearly upgrades and maintenance. CVS/Pharmacy provided a state-of-the-art automated dispensing system. Pyxis Corporation contributed the Pyxis MedStation and McKessonHBOC Pharmaserv provided the software. Uniweb Inc. donated the shelving and other funding was received from Walgreens.

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