Solutions that enable patients to access their medications

The pandemic has had a profound effect on the way people access healthcare.  It has also exposed the fact that the traditional pharmacy model is ripe for disruption.

Health care is local and requires a multi-faceted approach to meet consumers where they are. Pharmacy plays a critical role in supporting patients’ access to needed services and overall health, yet it is often the most overlooked component of the patient care journey.

Failure to adhere to prescribed medications is one of the biggest threats to patients and the healthcare industry. Former U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, MD, once said, “Drugs don't work in patients who don't take them.”  Studies have consistently shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled, and approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed.  Medication non-adherence places a significant cost burden on healthcare systems. In the U.S. alone, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine, medication non-adherence is a $300 billion a year burden resulting in 10% of hospitalizations and causing 125,000 deaths.

Patients who received focused care and education from pharmacists while transitioning out of the hospital showed higher satisfaction and lower readmission rates, according to research presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) 54th Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition.  Patients who received a follow-up phone call from a pharmacist after hospital discharge also saw a 5% drop (from 17.3% to 12.4%) in hospital 30-day readmission rates according to the same research.  Another study showed 16% of hospital readmissions were caused by medication with 40% of these being potentially preventable. Most of the medication errors involved in the potentially preventable readmissions were classified as non-adherence (35%) and prescribing errors (35%), followed by transition errors (30%).

According to Kaiser Health News, 2,583 hospitals -or 83%- faced penalties under HRRP in FY 2020 due to readmissions. Medicare estimated its payment penalties cost hospitals a total of $563 million over a year. The average penalty in 2020 was 0.71% which was up from FY 2019's average 0.57% penalty.

A potential cause of readmission is non-adherence due to access to prescribed medications.  From a patient perspective, one frustrating aspect of the healthcare experience is waiting for prescriptions to be filled.  With healthcare increasingly moving back to the home, coupled with the telehealth explosion over the last year, pharmacy needs to innovate in order to position itself to play an important and distinguishable role in patient care.

In today’s marketplace, offering prescription home delivery allows health systems to remain relevant by reaching outside the four walls to service their patients where and when care is needed.  With brick-and-mortar and new digital pharmacy entrants offering delivery, there is a greater trend for this solution. Benefits to a health system, and the patients they serve, include:

  • Mitigate Risk

By positioning pharmacists more extensively throughout the care continuum, Health Systems can reduce readmission rates attributed to medical non-adherence. Ensuring patients receive their prescribed medications through local delivery creates a better patient experience, enables the opportunity for pharmacy interaction, and allows for the effective management of high-risk patients.

  • Position Pharmacy as a Strategic Asset

Like a good meds-to-beds solution, delivery of prescriptions expands pharmacy services to the patient’s home and leverages the pharmacy asset.  Keeping patients within your network and utilizing your pharmacies and services, improves revenue through increased prescription volume and refill retention.

  • Reputation Matters

Mail order isn’t the only option for home delivery of prescriptions.  In fact, any delivery service can deliver a package from one location to another. But healthcare has a reputation for wellness, so why trust your deliveries to drivers unfamiliar in the space?  Due to the very nature of the products, healthcare logistics simply requires a higher degree of oversight to screen, track and ensure every order reaches the intended patient on time. When it comes to prescription home delivery, your trusted partner should be an extension of your healthcare entity because when they do their job, you can do your job.

  • Healthcare is Local

Because healthcare is local, if your health system doesn’t have its own pharmacy, or if your pharmacy cannot fill a prescription due to hours, geography or emergency, having a network of locally-owned pharmacies for on-demand and first-fill pharmacy needs, coupled with prescription home delivery, provides patients with continuity of care. 

  • Improve Star Ratings 

A hospital’s STAR rating is a summary of quality measures including readmission, patient experience, effectiveness of care and timeliness of care. By offering prescription home delivery, hospitals can appropriately manage high risk patients and ensure medications are in-hand to start therapy and remain adherent.  An improvement in quality measures has a direct impact on reimbursement.

  • Virtual Care Convenience

Telehealth has already proven to be a vital healthcare component.  But when a patient is seen virtually the chances for medication abandonment rises exponentially. Pairing telehealth with your pharmacies and including prescription delivery helps close the gap in the patient care journey.

Patients today are looking for access to their health essentials where it is most convenient for them.  Pharmacy sits in a unique position in that it reaches across the entire continuum of care from pre-acute all the way through to post-acute. Health systems have an opportunity to elevate their pharmacy services.  As quoted by John Adams, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” 

Explore. Innovate. Partner. Keep the patient in mind.

Laurie Barton, Vice President Health Systems Solutions, StatimRX

Discover how a partnership with StatimRX compliments the ambulatory pharmacy strategy and contributes to the patient experience 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars