By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – On May 1, Lifespan opened its own retail pharmacy on the campus of Rhode Island Hospital, saying the state’s largest hospital network was taking this new approach to encourage medication adherence and to reduce readmissions.
Patients at Rhode Island Hospital will have the option of picking up their medication in the Lifespan Pharmacy at the time of discharge, or they can have it delivered directly to their home, or in some instances, delivered to the bedside, according to hospital officials.
The pharmacy is staffed by pharmacists who are able to answer questions about dosages, interactions with other medicines, side effects and medication safety, as well as technicians who can assist with questions about prescription coverage. The pharmacists and technicians are using the latest in dispensing technology to help ensure prescriptions are filled quickly and accurately, hospital officials said.
“The overall result will be better outcomes for our patients,” said Dr. Timothy J. Babineau, Lifespan’s president and CEO. “We’ve found, as have many other hospitals around the country, that patients often forgo filling needed prescriptions once they are discharged from the hospital. Our goal in opening the Lifespan Pharmacy is to increase adherence, which ultimately will keep our patients healthier and reduce the likelihood of readmission. This is part of our ongoing efforts to integrate a patient-centered approach throughout the Lifespan system.”
In addition to serving inpatients being discharged, the Lifespan Pharmacy will also be available for patients in the emergency department, ambulatory surgery center and outpatient clinics, as well as for Lifespan employees and their families, physicians, and walk-ins, who would like to utilize the convenient, state-of-the-art services,” according to hospital officials.
“Medication adherence is critical to the health of our patients,” said Christine Collins, .director of pharmacy for Rhode Island, The Miriam and Bradley hospitals. “Far too many patients are readmitted to the hospital when they don’t take their medication correctly or at all.”
Nearly 75 percent of adults do not follow their doctor’s orders when it comes to medications and this includes not filling their prescriptions, not taking them properly and stopping before the medication is complete, Lifespan officials said, saying the economic impact of non-adherence was $100 billion each year.
CVS/Caremark did not respond to requests by phone and by e-mail for a comment.