The UMKC Foundation has received a $35,000 gift from the Jane & Jack Strandberg Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, that will go to support ongoing research in the School of Pharmacy.

Jennifer Ingraham, assistant vice president of the UMKC Foundation, said charitable trusts are a prudent way for individuals to fulfil their philanthropic objectives. Because they are generally treated as a tax-exempt entity, a charitable trust would typically not pay tax to the extent of any ordinary or capital gain income.

For Mark Patterson, Ph.D., M.P.H. associate professor at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, the gift is a unique funding source to support his study of electronic health records systems used to monitor patients and their prescriptions during transitions of care between hospitals and nursing homes.

The gift will benefit community related health by helping address a patient safety issue that Patterson said needs to be investigated. Part of the funding will also go to employing two pharmacy students to assist in the project, providing them training in research skills as well.

“I just feel so fortunate to have found this unique funding path and the fact that it's benefiting multiple aspects of the university,” he said.

Ingraham said the gift is unique in that it is private philanthropy supporting university research. Generally, it is federal and state agencies, research foundations and corporate research and development that provide financial support to university research.

Patterson’s project is an extension of a previous study he conducted looking at reducing medication discrepancies during patients’ transition of care between hospitals and nursing homes. That study exposed the issue of mismatched prescribing information during those transitions and the potential health risk those discrepancies pose to patients.

His latest work will look specifically at the electronic health records systems available to providers. Patterson said the interoperability of health information technology systems between providers must be as seamless as possible in order to obtain accurate patient prescribing information across the continuum of care.

“Electronic health records, and the electronic health care record systems that are available to these providers are a huge mitigating factor in regards to how accurate prescribing information is on a patient record that's being shuttled back and forth between hospitals, primary care doctors, nursing homes and community pharmacies,” he said.

The study will involve speaking with focus groups and conducting one-on-one interviews with care providers in nine different nursing homes in Missouri and Kansas.

“We’re going to very specifically zone in on how the health IT infrastructure is interacting with that goal of safe prescribing,” Patterson said. “Between the focus groups and the one-on-one interviews with providers, we’re hoping to really do almost a needs assessment for these nursing homes.”