When Chuck DiTrapano, RPh was a pharmacy manager for a 700-bed teaching hospital, he observed his colleagues struggling with providing consistent, standardized care to a large volume of patients. His penchant for problem-solving lead to the founding of RxTOOLKIT™, a diverse set of applications that support clinical excellence in pharmacy practice.
What do you do for a living and where do you work?
I am a pharmacist and the President and founder of RxTOOLKIT™ and RxTOOLKIT eLEARNING in Ephrata, PA.
How long have you been in the industry?
Over 40 years.
What catalyzed your decision to become an entrepreneur and start RxTOOLKIT?
After becoming a pharmacy supervisor for a 700-bed teaching hospital, I observed many of my colleagues having a tough time just trying to keep up with the volume of information necessary to do their jobs properly. I also recognized uncertainty, on the part of management, about how to provide consistency, standardization, and training for our staff. I came up with the idea of creating a repository of standardized information and tools provided via the Internet. In 2004, we launched RxTOOLKIT.com with our flagship Information and Communication apps including RxDOCUMENT™ a searchable and secure document management system and RxCONNECT™ providing real-time distraction-free communications in a HIPAA compliant message board. A few years back we also initiated what we call our integrated development model combining process, technology, and competency. This has really helped to strengthen and focus our development process as well as improve many of our existing apps. Following our success in hospital pharmacy, we realized there was a real need for our tools in many other areas of healthcare especially nursing, physician’s offices, and of course infusion centers!
In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of working in the infusion industry?
Two of the largest issues I see facing the infusion industry are establishing standardization of practice and staff competency education. Standardization is especially challenging because often times we are looking at multiple locations with multiple staff members as well as numerous and very complex drug products. It can be a real challenge to get everyone on the same page and many of our tools were developed for exactly that purpose! Drugs are regularly prepared and administered by nursing staff, who may not be as familiar with their parameters as those of us in the pharmacy. We have developed tools such as RxWORKFLOW for IV Safety™ and our Year-Round Competency Tracking Program courses to specifically support nursing staff and help infusion center management establish standardization in practice and staff training in the preparation and administration of IV infusions. We want to give everyone the resources, ability, and confidence to safely prepare and administer any drug.
What do you like the most about your job?
Solving problems! It is really important for us to take the time to get to know our clients and their individual practice settings. We want to know as much about their specific operations as we can, so we are able to customize our existing products or develop new solutions to make their practices safer and more efficient. Some of our most popular tools today have either resulted from or been greatly improved by suggestions directly from our clients. We always encourage clients to give us their candid feedback.
What inspires or drives you every day?
I love what I do. I love the profession of pharmacy. Most of us in the healthcare industry chose this profession because we wanted to help people. It feels amazing to know I have a part in making both patients and providers safer. It really doesn’t seem like work.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My father was an immigrant. He constantly reminded me how much opportunity this country provided for him and our family. From an early age, I wanted to give something back to this country that he loved so much. Following my education at the Albany College of Pharmacy, in December of 1974, I was commissioned as a pharmacy officer in the US Navy. It was a way I felt I could give back for my Dad.
How do you “unwind” in your free time?
My wife, who happens to be an infusion center nurse manager, and I have a great circle of family and friends. We spend as much time with them as we can. Together, we love to travel, often just taking a drive in beautiful Lancaster County, PA.