Hospital pharmacies are expanding their reach and getting more involved in post-discharge care in an effort to reduce readmissions, improve care continuity and improve hospitals' financial performance, Hospitals & Health Networks reported.
While hospital pharmacists are challenged daily by issues such as shortages of life-saving drugs, pharmacy and hospital leaders also are thinking strategically. Examples of new best practices for hospital pharmacists reported in the article include:
- Visiting patients at risk of readmission before discharge to explain their medications and how they work, and ensuring patients understand the importance of taking their meds and how to take them
- Following up with patients by phone 24 and 48 hours after discharge to discuss the medication regime and answer questions
- Discharging patients with medications in hand, eliminating potential problems with insurance, co-payments and even getting a ride to the pharmacy
- Offering free home delivery of follow-up prescriptions under certain circumstances
- Creating retail pharmacies that take advantage of access to patients' electronic medical records and avoid losing revenue to retail chains
- Opening specialty pharmacies to offer expensive specialty drugs that require special handling or careful patient monitoring, and to coordinate closely with care-givers and patients during treatment
Pharmacists also are heavily involved in new hospital antibiotic stewardship programs, reviewing cases and individual prescriptions to ensure that antibiotics aren't overprescribed and that doctors prescribe the right kinds of antibiotics for the infection being battled.
To learn more:
- here's the H&HN article