More health-systems are opening on-site retail pharmacies to improve medication adherence and patient care after discharge and reduce costly hospital readmissions.
 
Just last week, an in-hospital Walgreens pharmacy had its official ribbon cutting at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey, as part of a partnership between the health-system’s parent organization, Trinity Health, and the chain pharmacy giant.
 
With the transition to value-based care, pharmacists are steadily becoming more involved in chronic care management. In-hospital retail pharmacies provide pharmacists with direct access to both physicians and patients, and this collaboration “provides a major safety enhancement by ensuring that the patient actually fills their prescriptions,” said Christine Collins, director of pharmacy at Lifespan, a Rhode Island-based health-system that has opened retail pharmacies in 2 of its hospitals.
 
According to Pharmacy Times Health-System Edition Editor Stephen Eckel, PharmD, MHA, BCPS, FASHP, FAPhA, in-hospital pharmacists can also play an active role in the continuum of care from an inpatient facility to the home or another outpatient setting.
 
“Upon discharge, the patient should have an updated medication list, an understanding of the medication regimen, and their medication already filled,” Dr. Eckel told Pharmacy Times.
 
In-hospital pharmacists also have access to a patient’s electronic health record, which Dr. Eckel said can “ensure that the patient is placed back on medications that might not have been continued upon admission.”

He said the trend toward integrating retail pharmacies into hospitals “if done right, will only benefit patients.”
 
However, Dr. Eckel noted, “there is a potential [for in-hospital retail pharmacists] to focus on the patients that will get their prescriptions filled in [their] pharmacy,” so they may inadvertently “not let others have access to the same level of services.”