SwedishAmerican establishes outpatient pharmacy, ‘med-to-bed’ program

Online Staff Report

SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford has established a new full-service outpatient pharmacy, becoming the first local health system to do so. Patients who are getting ready for discharge are a primary focus of the new pharmacy, and will benefit from an innovative new “med-to-bed” program.

Our staff will go directly to patients, as opposed to patients coming to us,” said SwedishAmerican Pharmacy Director Tom Carey. “This should really increase patient satisfaction, especially in the hospital.”

According to Carey, pharmacy staff will proactively identify patients who are one to two days from leaving the hospital to ensure their needs are met.

We will go to their room, double check what medications they are on, verify insurance coverage, process co-pays and deliver the medication — right at the bedside,” Carey said.

Maximizing patient safety is a key goal of the new outpatient pharmacy.\

Making sure patients go home on the correct medications is a big safety concern in health care nationwide,” Carey said. “We will be taking additional steps to ensure there are no duplications, omissions or contraindications — especially if new medications are added as part of the hospitalization.”

Another benefit for patients who order their prescriptions through the outpatient pharmacy is the knowledge that a licensed pharmacist is available at a very unique time (when patients are being discharged) to answer medication-related questions and help them understand any side effects or drug interactions that might occur. The pharmacist also oversees all prescription fillings to ensure the highest standards of quality and safety.

The new pharmacy will improve the continuity of care patients receive after they are discharged. According to Carey, studies have shown that only a third of prescriptions written in the hospital are actually filled once a patient leaves the hospital, resulting in readmissions and suboptimal care.

We plan on making sure patients get the medications they need without having a gap in coverage because the prescriptions may need to be filled at a traditional retail pharmacy,” Carey said.

A licensed pharmacist is available to address patients’ questions, along with friendly and knowledgeable staff members who make customer service and convenience their top priority. An easy ordering system allows doctors to call, fax or electronically send a prescription ahead of time for advanced preparation and short wait times.

In addition to bedside service, patients and SwedishAmerican employees also can directly access the pharmacy, which is on the third floor of SwedishAmerican Hospital near the East State Street entrance. The pharmacy is open 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Close parking and valet service at the hospital’s main entrance also are available.

Posted April 23, 2014

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