Hospitals Look at Retail Pharmacies With Renewed Interest

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media , February 3, 2014

She said there are several barriers that can stand between a patient and filling a prescription such as transportation and insurance denials. "We are able to work through these issues while the patient is still with us, greatly minimizing the risk of non-adherence and the subsequent health issues that go along with that such as readmissions," Collins said. "This helps us provide a continuum of care for our patients even beyond discharge."

See Also: Fresh Take on Hospital Discharges Cuts Readmissions

Lower Readmissions
Douglas Scheckelhoff, VP of the office of practice management at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, says hospital officials are focusing on medication as one of the keys to adapting to the changing health care industry landscape. "One of their strategies to lower readmissions is medication," he said, noting hospitals are creating "discharge prescription programs" through their retail pharmacies. "It's a very practical way to make sure the transition to the home is successful."

While the percentage of hospitals that have on-campus retail pharmacies has held steady over the past decade at about 25 percent, Scheckelhoff said ASHP is now asking hospitals about how many pharmacies they have at their facilities. "I think the larger hospital systems are opening more [pharmacy] locations," he said.

When hospitals weigh the business side of opening a retail pharmacy, they should be mindful of economies of scale and the potential for a relatively low rate of prescription re-fill orders, Scheckelhoff said.

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