A Profound Shift In The Role Of Health System Clinic Pharmacies Is Happening…
Health systems are seeking new revenue streams and new means of building a more complete continuum of care. Owning outpatient retail pharmacies is one of the best ways to capture prescription volume, help ensure adherence to medication use, improve transition of care processes and reduce potential readmission rates.
A successful outpatient pharmacy strategy should ensure that patients leaving the hospital fill their prescriptions and understand how to take the medications.
Nationally, studies show an average of 20 percent of RX goes unfilled. Of those filled, only about 50 percent of patients take their medicines as prescribed. This can lead to re-admissions and worse outcomes. A well run Transitions of Care program can substantially decrease the readmission rates and related “fines”. Research has shown that over half of medication errors occur during transitions in care.
Health System Clinic Based Outpatient Pharmacy Impact
The return on investment (ROI) in outpatient pharmacy for the health system is hard to quantify.
However, it is clear that a single avoided readmission, for example, can save costs in amounts that reach six figures. Revenue data shows that a 300-bed health system with 225,000 annual patient encounters requiring 450,000 prescriptions sends more than $27 million of revenue and $1,620,000 in net earnings out the door to off-site retail pharmacies.
If a health system has a health plan, the potential impact of the outpatient pharmacy is even greater.
The only new dollars in the health system space are coming from the ability to take on risk with premium dollars, so having control over your outpatient prescription costs is key to managing that risk.
Indirect ROI is equally if not more important, including higher patient satisfaction.
Patients appreciate not having to stop at their local pharmacy on the way home from a stressful hospital visit and potentially not get a prescription filled. If there are issues with prescription coverage, dose, strength, interactions, etc., it can be difficult to get back in touch with the prescribing physician. Health system outpatient pharmacies are able to take care of that before the patient leaves the institution. Many patients have recognized these efforts in working to provide them their needed medications.
These benefits come without the need to fill follow-up or refill prescriptions.
Many patients live in areas not convenient to the hospital, which means that getting the first fill correct is the crucial factor and then the prescriptions can be transferred to the patient’s local retail pharmacy.