In a pilot program at Christiana Hospital under way since May, patients can order their prescription medications via the GetWellNetwork computer in their hospital room, and then pick them up at the retail pharmacy in the hospital lobby before they head home.
“Patients really appreciate the convenience,” said Kristina Santoro, RN, IPC manager for GetWellNetwork. “The last thing someone wants to do after being in the hospital is go to a drugstore and wait for a prescription to be filled.”
The pilot project launched on units 4C, 5C and 6B, which care for surgical, medical and oncology patients. It has proved so popular that it may soon roll out to other units.
Here’s how it works: Through a prompt on the GetWellNetwork touchscreen, patients who are soon to be discharged are asked if they would like to have their medications filled by the Christiana Care retail pharmacy before they go home.
“When you hit ‘yes,’ a pharmacy staff member comes up and talks to you,” says Sebastian Hamilton, MBA, PharmD, director, Outpatient Pharmacy Services. “Before the GetWellNetwork, the pharmacy discharge facilitator would have to visit each patient. The GetWellNetwork is expected to increase efficiency and allow the retail pharmacy to serve additional patients.”
Kim Moore, a certified pharmacy technician, is the discharge facilitator. She visits the patient’s room and explains how the process works.
“We have a good conversation, because we aren’t in that rush you often find in a retail pharmacy,” she says. “We are in a private setting where we can take our time.”
The Christiana Care retail pharmacy accepts the same insurance as most commercial drugstores. Patients can arrange to cover any co-pays before they pick up their medications. There’s little or no waiting.
“Most of the medications patients receive when they leave the hospital don’t have a refill,” Moore says. “But if they do, we can make arrangements to transfer the prescription to their local pharmacy”
Patients have responded enthusiastically. Each day, the pharmacy fills 30 to 40 prescriptions for patients being discharged from the three units.
“It makes total sense,” Hamilton says. “Patients tell us that they love it.”
One of them is Sandra Waples, who was happy to skip a stop at a drugstore on the long ride home to Bridgeville after a recent surgery.
“A message asking if I wanted the medication service popped up when I turned on the TV screen in my hospital room,” she said. “Right away, I said ‘yes,’ so glad that I wouldn’t have to make a special trip and then wait for my medicine.”
The pharmacy program is one of several new initiatives by GetWellNetwork to make life less complicated and more pleasant for patients, Santoro said. The GetWellNetwork also enables patients to check email, watch movies, learn about their medications and keep in touch with loved ones.