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The Catalyst

An MUSC Hero - Pharmacy's Dr. Kelli Garrison

By Emily Upshur
Public Relations

There are many heroes working hard to improve patient care at MUSC. Kelli Garrison of the Department of Pharmacy Services is one such hero.

Garrison, PharmD, came on board with MUSC in 2004 after doing a two–year residency in pharmacy practice and drug information. She is now working in the Drug Information Center as the manager of the Medication Use Policy and Informatics Group. She and her team provide support for the pharmacies, physicians and nurses at MUSC as well as numerous health care professionals outside the hospital. MUPI focuses on answering questions for MUSC pharmacies, researching clinical outcomes for specific strategies and managing information systems.

Garrison’s recent focus has been on pharmacy information systems and she has distinguished herself particularly in the recent EPIC rollout.   

Her colleague, Jason C. Cooper, a clinical pharmacy specialist in the MUSC Drug Information Center, spoke about how Garrison works diligently to promote patient care. “EPIC is supposed to benefit patients and Kelli kept that at the forefront. I don’t know how many times I heard her on the phone arguing to make the system better for the patients and physicians. She explained how the physicians were going to view the information in the system. About how important it was that the system needed to be clear for physicians in order to provide quality patient care.”

Cooper also said that Garrison’s concern extended beyond the patients to the people she works with each day. He said that as a manager, Garrison is a good listener and takes the input of her team members into account when making decisions.

“Her office is always open. We have a lot of meetings, and she’s always willing to listen and incorporate that and gives good feedback. Kelli never says, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’ She listens and speaks with you about what your issues and feelings are, and what’s happening, and works with you to handle that.”

Outside of Pharmacy Services, Garrison worked diligently during the preparation and rollout of the Pediatric Pharmacy and Hematology/Oncology parts of the EPIC electronic health care record system. Garrison had previous experience in setting up the former health care record system, McKesson Medical Records, and this enabled her to more easily understand the newer system. She worked in a number of different areas on the Epic project, ensuring that information was recorded correctly, programing was written to serve each specific area and that the rollout went as smoothly as possible. Garrison was described as a reliable, hard-working, intelligent individual whose sense of kindness and patience made the stressful situation easier to work through.

David Habib, M.D., associate chief medical officer for the Hospital Supply Chain, worked with Garrison on McKesson and then later on Epic. He spoke of how Kelli made the Epic roll out successful.

“She knows what we’re able to actually manage to do versus what we think we can do. With implementing EPIC, you have to know what you can accomplish up front almost a year in advance because the timelines are pretty strict. If you have somebody like Kelli, who really knows what the capabilities of your institution are, you will get there.”

The medical director of the Pediatric Emergency Department, Scott Russell, M.D., expressed that “Kelli is always willing to listen and lend a helping hand to make sure that we do it right and do it right the first time. Whenever anything breaks, she’s available day and night to fix it with a smile on her face. She’s really just focused on getting things right to the extent that she works incredibly hard to make that happen.”

Garrison helped ensure the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic site would be a successful Epic pilot rollout in March 2012. Michelle Hudspeth, M.D., division chief for Pediatric Hematology–Oncology, described how taking care of complex patients while at the same time learning the new system proved difficult for the clinicians. Garrison’s work helped avoid critical patient safety issues, Hudspeth said. There was also special difficulty in having to write chemotherapy orders in Epic, which Garrison helped the clinicians navigate and modify to suit the needs of the clinic and its patients.

“She very quickly gained the trust and respect of everyone in our clinic and really I would consider her an honorary member of our division and our clinic because everyone trusts her implicitly. Not only is she very smart and talented in what she does, but she also has a great way of working with people. She gets along
really well with everybody and we actually have fun in the midst of trying to figure out all these stressful situations,” said Hudspeth.

Garrison’s work at MUSC, and the lives she has touched, is something to be commended and admired. As Russell expressed, “Kelli’s the type of person we should all try to emulate because she is, in fact, MUSC Excellence.”

Editor’s note: At MUSC, heroes abound. They exist in the form of caregivers, faculty, students and staff. MUSC Heroes is a feature that offers employees and students a chance to recognize MUSC’s everyday heroes. Recommend a hero at


September 12, 2014



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