Picture this: You're discharged from the hospital after an asthma attack, and you're looking forward to getting home, recovering, and relaxing.
Then you realize — you have to go pick up a refill of your inhaler. That means driving to the pharmacy, waiting while your prescription is filled, and wasting precious time that could have been spent lying on your couch with Netflix asking you, "Are you still watching...?"
As a patient at Chester County Hospital, the frustration of having to go out of your way to get important medication can be avoided. With the expanded pharmacy services that are coming soon, it'll be simple and easy to grab your prescription on the way out.
Chester County Hospital's new pharmacy services, which include the Outpatient Pharmacy and the Operating Room (OR) Satellite Pharmacy, are in addition to the others that already exist. These include the inpatient pharmacy and pharmacists stationed throughout the hospital floors, including the emergency department (ED).
Karen A. Novielli, BSPharm, MBA and Chester County Hospital Pharmacy Director, and Dr. James A. Curtis, PharmD, MHA, BCPS, BCCCP, Associate Director of Pharmacy discuss what the pharmacy expansion at Chester County Hospital will look like — and how it can benefit you.
Meds to Meds: The Outpatient Pharmacy That's Actually Convenient
Whether you come into Chester County Hospital off the street or you're being discharged after a hospital stay, the new pharmacy has your back when it comes to any medication you'll need before heading home.
The new Chester County Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy is what's known as a "Meds to Beds" program — which is exactly what it sounds like. Medications are conveniently brought to your bedside, so you don't have to worry about getting them yourself.
"Instead of a patient having to go to an outside pharmacy after leaving the hospital at 7:00 at night to get their pain medicine or antibiotics, we just deliver them to their bedside. Then, the pharmacist can answer any questions they have right in the hospital," Dr. Curtis explains.
This program is a lot like a hotel's room service — only instead of breakfast in bed, you'll get important medication so you can go home with them in hand.
Meds to Beds programs make it easy to pick up your prescription, and they've also been shown to boost compliance with medication. "Patients who wait a day or two after leaving the hospital to go get their medication filled do worse clinically. There is data that shows patients who comply with their medication plan have fewer readmissions to the hospital," says Dr. Curtis.
The best part? Your pharmacy will be the same organization as your health care provider, so communication will become much more efficient and reliable.
"Pharmacists can talk to physicians one-on-one during daily huddles," says Novielli. "It streamlines the whole discharge process, improves communication, and increases the value of a patient's stay at the hospital."
Dr. Curtis adds, "If there is an issue, pharmacists are calling two floors up and the physician is right there — it's not like they're calling an outside facility."
As for insurance, the Outpatient Pharmacy will be equipped to work with all insurance companies, making the entire process much smoother for everyone involved. And because the pharmacy is still a pharmacy, prices won't be any higher than another neighborhood pharmacy, and you can still take advantage of your normal discounts.
The OR Satellite Pharmacy: Getting Medications to Patients Who Need It Now
The operating room is a unique space in the hospital, especially for pharmaceuticals. Clinicians in the OR often deal with medications from the beginning to the end — usually with a vital time restriction.
As Dr. Curtis explains, "They take it out of the machine, they determine what dose to give, they place the order for it, they actually give it to the patient, and then they dispose of it."
Sometimes, a question comes up during this process — one which requires a pharmacist to answer. With the expansion, pharmacists will have a physical presence located right next to operating rooms (OR), called the OR Satellite Pharmacy. Any questions can be easily fielded, avoiding detrimental time delays.
"Say you have a hemophiliac patient in the OR (whose blood doesn't clot properly) who is bleeding, and they need a specialized product in a specific dosage. There are some curveball questions that can arise, such as what's currently stocked in the hospital or what specific product is needed. Instead of having that conversation over the phone, it's in-person — face-to-face," Dr. Curtis says.
Even more, pharmacists can mix and prepare medications and get them immediately to patients in the OR rooms right when they're needed.
This streamlined process will improve communication, and ultimately, efficiency. "We can clarify orders quicker, we can change the drugs based on patient allergies — we have that direct communication that we have on the nursing units, which really helps with total patient care," says Novielli.
Always Looking to the Future
Chester County Hospital is always looking ahead — even beyond the upcoming expansion.
Down the line, the pharmacy will begin offering immunizations, such as the flu or the shingles vaccinations. This service will begin a little after the grand opening to allow clinicians some time to get used to the new space and ensure everything is working as efficiently as possible.
The hospital's pharmacists also plan to implement a system to mail specialty drugs, like gastrointestinal or psoriasis medications, right to patients' homes. "The value of that service will be to speed up turnaround from precertification to drug-in-hand," explains Novielli.
Chester County Hospital knows the importance of prescription medication — and the goal is to get it to you as quickly and easily as possible. The expanded pharmacy services will be just one more way to make your hospital stay worry-free — so you can focus on getting healthy again.
Pharmacy hours are:
- Monday-Friday: 7:30 AM to 6 PM
- Saturday: 9 AM to 2 PM
Related Information from Chester County Hospital: