Walgreens pharmacists and DeKalb Medical have teamed up to help patients understand and comply with medication therapies after treatment at the hospital.

Walgreens, DeKalb Medical, medication therapies, Walgreens pharmacists, Atlanta-area health care system, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, HCAHPS, Kermit Crawford, hospital care, pharmacy care, medication therapy, hospital stay, Cathleen Wheatley

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Walgreens, DeKalb boost post-hospital Rx care

November 4th, 2011

DECATUR, Ga. – Walgreens pharmacists and DeKalb Medical have teamed up to help patients understand and comply with medication therapies after treatment at the hospital.

The Atlanta-area health care system said Thursday that the collaboration has improved patient care and satisfaction just three months after implementation.

DeKalb Medical improved its Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) top box scores pertaining to patient communications on medication from 50% to 63% over the 90-day period following the program's launch. HCAHPS is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients' perspectives on hospital care. HCAHPS scores have continued to trend upward beyond the initial 90-day period as operation of the pharmacy program with Walgreens continues, DeKalb noted.

Walgreens operates a full-service outpatient pharmacy adjacent to DeKalb Medical's health and wellness store on the DeKalb Medical Main campus in Decatur, Ga. Starting in July, Walgreens pharmacy staff implemented a patient-centered discharge medication program. Before hospital discharge, the service provides participating patients with proper instruction on their new medication therapy, along with the convenience of prescription delivery to the patient at their bedside in the hospital.

By eliminating the need to travel to a pharmacy after a hospital stay, the service helps the patient comply with medication therapy, according to DeKalb. Also, Walgreens pharmacists conduct follow-up phone calls to patients within 72 hours of discharge from the hospital to answer questions on medications, potential side effects and treatment programs.

"This is a great example of the role our pharmacists can play in a coordinated care program that benefits both the patient and the hospital," Kermit Crawford, Walgreens' president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions, said in a statement. "Medication therapies can be challenging for patients and caregivers. And services like bedside delivery, pharmacist follow-up with patients after discharge and ongoing access to Walgreens community pharmacists who provide education and counseling help ensure a smooth and healthy transition from the hospital to the home."

Cathleen Wheatley, DeKalb Medical's senior vice president and chief nurse executive, noted that the collaboration improves continuity in pharmacy treatment. "A patient who is informed and secure in their treatment program following a hospital stay is more likely to stay adherent to their medications and to achieve a better health outcome," she explained. "By working with Walgreens, we've been able to ease the burden on DeKalb Medical patients and their families during challenging times by offering simple and easy access to medications and to health and pharmacy professionals who can address concerns and questions that can follow a hospital stay."