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Walgreens, N.J. health system collaborate on care
June 2nd, 2014
CAMDEN, N.J. – Walgreen Co. is working with New Jersey's Lourdes Health System on initiatives to improve medication adherence and post-hospital care.
Lourdes Health System said Monday that its partnership with Walgreens, part of a larger collaboration between its parent organization CHE Trinity Health and the drug chain, encompasses three programs that are under way or upcoming.
One program that has begun is bedside medication delivery at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County. Through the service, a Walgreens pharmacy technician visits patients to see if they would like to get their discharge medications from Walgreens on their day of discharge from the hospital. Patients can opt to get their medications one time if they want and then continue using their own pharmacy. The medicines are delivered from a nearby Walgreens pharmacy within one or two hours of discharge. A Walgreens pharmacist is available by phone to answer any questions.
Now being implemented at the two medical centers is the Walgreens WellTransitions Program, designed to improve the care of its patients after they are discharged from the hospital. Patients can enroll in WellTransitions when they are admitted to the hospital and can choose to receive their medication via Walgreens bedside delivery or at a Walgreens drug stores.
Within 48 hours of discharge, a pharmacist contacts the patient to review medications and answer any questions or concerns. A Walgreens pharmacist then will contact the patient two more times within the next 30 days to see how he or she is doing. After 30 days, the patient can switch to his or her preferred pharmacy if desired.
"Medication noncompliance is a major reason for readmission to the hospital, especially for patients with chronic conditions such as heart failure and diabetes," Alexander Hatala, president and chief executive officer of Lourdes Health System, said in a statement. "Working with patients before they leave the hospital and after they are discharged will help ensure patients obtain, understand and take the medicines that are an important part of their health."
On the way this fall will be an on-site Walgreens pharmacy at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. Plans call for the drug chain to renovate an area just off the first floor lobby. The health system said the retail pharmacy will be convenient for patients and family members to pick up prescriptions before heading home. It also will be open to Lourdes employees and visitors.
"For some patients, there is no pharmacy near their home," Hatala noted. "Being able to fill their initial prescription at the hospital will not only save time, but through education also encourage them to take it as directed. This program helps us to transition patients home with the medications they need from day one."
Executives from Walgreens and CHE Trinity Health pointed out that the collaborative model aims to improve patients' health outcomes while broadening consumer access to care and lowering overall medical costs.
"Coordinated care programs are vitally important to help ensure patients have access to the quality, convenient, affordable care they need before, during and after a hospital admission," stated Alan London, vice president of strategic clinical partners for Walgreens. "Working with an integrated health system such as CHE Trinity Health offers an ideal opportunity to further leverage Walgreens health care assets to coordinate patient care across multiple regions of the country. We look forward to working together to help patients in these communities get, stay and live well."
In late May, Walgreens and CHE Trinity Health announced a clinical affiliation including retail clinic collaborations, outpatient pharmacy services, and expanded prescription and disease management programs. Under the alliance, Walgreens pharmacists and nurse practitioners in the drug chain's Healthcare Clinic will work with CHE Trinity Health physicians and other health providers to coordinate patient care and give patients access to a wider range of health care services.
"This collaboration is based on our organizations' mutual commitment to serve people at every intersection of their health and wellness needs," according to Scott Nordlund, executive vice president of growth, strategy and innovation at CHE Trinity Health. "Transformative ideas for improving care are central to our mission at CHE Trinity Health, so we are pleased to join with Walgreens to introduce new and better strategies for health and wellness throughout our communities."
Livonia, Mich.-based CHE Trinity Health is one of the nation's largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems. It serves people in 20 states nationwide through 86 hospitals, 109 continuing care facilities, and home health and hospice programs that provide nearly 2.8 million visits annually. Lourdes Health System is one of southern New Jersey's leading health networks, with hospitals in Camden and Willingboro and outpatient centers throughout the regional.