Aurora Pharmacy has built out its Aurora Specialty Pharmacy (ASP) business, which provides comprehensive, coordinated delivery and support services for patients who are prescribed high-cost oral or injectable medications to treat complex, chronic conditions.


Aurora Pharmacy, Aurora Specialty Pharmacy, John Gates, retail pharmacy operations, Wisconsin, Aurora Health Care Network, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, patient safety






































































































































































































































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Aurora Pharmacy sharpens specialty Rx focus

April 27th, 2014

ELM GROVE, Wis. – Aurora Pharmacy has built out its Aurora Specialty Pharmacy (ASP) business, which provides comprehensive, coordinated delivery and support services for patients who are prescribed high-cost oral or injectable medications to treat complex, chronic conditions.

The program provides care, support and education to ensure patient compliance, according to John Gates, vice president of retail pharmacy operations at Aurora, which has 73 pharmacy locations in Wisconsin.

“Due to our fully integrated system, we are able to manage the quality, cost and delivery of specialty pharmacy medications regardless of whether they are delivered at the patient’s home, infusion center, doctor’s office or one of our hospitals or clinics,” said Gates. “In addition, by being part of the Aurora Health Care network, we can ensure consistency across sites of care and providers.”

“Our pharmacists coordinate care with a patient’s entire health care team — including doctors, nurses and financial counselors — among inpatient, outpatient, infusion clinics and pharmacies. All members of the care team use one shared electronic medical record system. The pharmacy care team has access to laboratory results, physicians’ notes and pharmacy interventions.”

He added that Aurora, the largest private employer in Wisconsin, is examining methods for improving patient safety within the medication use process, in part by delivering comprehensive medication therapy management services.

Aurora was one of a small group of pharmacies that worked with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to pilot a survey for retail pharmacies that examined patient safety.

“In 2014, we’re going to ask all our pharmacy staff to complete this survey,” Gates explained. “We’ll use the results to drive improvements in our patient safety initiatives, and will ask our pharmacy staff in each store to take action based on identified issues specific to their locations.”

He noted that Aurora’s unique integration enables its pharmacists to quickly and seamlessly communicate with the medical care team if an adverse event, a change in dosage or a compliance issue arises, and that it helps improve the patient safety experience while controlling unnecessary costs.

“The reason for the success is due to high patient and care team satisfaction and support; we are truly making a difference in the care our patients receive,” Gates said.

“Our pharmacists and care team help guide patients through the complicated steps of specialty pharmacy care by assisting with benefit coordination, managing the preauthorization process and accessing a wide range of co-payment and educational assistance programs. ASP provides ‘high-touch’ patient management, which includes routine communication with patients to educate them about their condition, encouragement of medication compliance and safety monitoring.”

Pharmacists and care team members also monitor and evaluate the patient’s response to therapy, including safety and effectiveness; perform a comprehensive medication review to identify, resolve and prevent medication-related problems, including adverse drug events; document the care that has been delivered and communicate essential information to other members of the patient’s care team; and provide verbal education and training to enhance patients’ adherence to, understanding of and appropriate use of their medications.

“We are securing our future by managing our costs, investing in the ASP and advocating for integrated, patient-centered health care,” commented Gates.

“ASP continues to develop and enhance relationships with payers, PBMs and manufacturers to ensure that Aurora Pharmacy and ASP are in networks and that we have access to the specialty medications.”

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