Chester County Hospital in West Chester, PA expanded its inpatient pharmacy in November 2016.

Chester County Hospital recently expanded its inpatient pharmacy in an effort to improve patient care. The expansion began in March of 2016 and unfolded over multiple phases, creating additional space for a high-tech intravenous (IV) compounding room, medication inventory management system and improved work area for pharmacists.

One of the biggest focuses during this renovation was sterile compounding -- the process of creating intravenous medication in a sterile environment. Currently considered a best practice, sterile compounding will be mandated nationwide in December 2019 by the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP).

To meet these standards, the pharmacy completed a new outlay for the IV room, which included equipment upgrades to meet the proper air pressure and ventilation requirements. These adjustments ensure medications like chemotherapy are made, stored and transported most effectively.

In addition, a Talyst® carousel medication management system was added, which has proven beneficial in storing and dispensing medications while accurately maintaining the hospital's inventory. The carousel improves efficiency while performing multiple barcode checks throughout the distribution process to ensure accuracy and patient safety.

The pharmacy expansion has also increased the number of decentralized pharmacists performing clinical duties on patient care units and in the emergency department to help reduce readmission rates.

"When patients come through the emergency department, they often don't have a complete list of the medications they are taking. Our pharmacists perform medication reconciliation -- a process of creating the most accurate list possible of a patient's current medication," says Karen Novelli, RPh, MBA, Pharmacy Director at Chester County Hospital.

Pharmacists interview the patient and their family about their medications, review their medical record, and contact their local pharmacist and primary care physician to get the full picture.  The pharmacist then creates the admission or discharge medication list for the patient's stay or return to home.

"We know that when pharmacists or pharmacy technicians perform medication reconciliation, drug accuracy improves and providers can spend more of their time caring for the patient," added James Curtis, PharmD, MHA, BCPS, BCCCP, Associate Pharmacy Director.Novelli and Curtis also lead the implementation for the Chester County Hospital’s satellite locations, including the recently renovated pharmacy at the Abramson Cancer Center at Chester County Hospital in West Chester, PA. "Our next focus will be renovating the pharmacy and laboratory at the Cancer Center’s Kennett Square, PA and Exton, PA locations," added Novelli.

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