Hospital-Based Outpatient Pharmacy Impact

The return on investment (ROI) in outpatient pharmacy for the hospital is hard to quantify.

However, it is clear that a single avoided readmission, for example, can save costs in amounts that reach six figures. In terms of revenue, data show that a 300-bed hospital system with 225,000 annual patient encounters requiring 450,000 scripts 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 hospital space are coming from the ability to take on risk with premium dollars, so having control over your outpatient script 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 script filled. If there are issues with script coverage, dose, strength, interactions, etc., it can be difficult to get back in touch with the prescribing physician. Hospital 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 scripts can be transferred to the patient’s local retail pharmacy.

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