Illinois Business Partners With Hospital to Reduce Readmissions

Pharmacy Times, August 2022, Volume 88, Issue 8

Dundee Pharmacy’s compliance packaging encourages patients to stay adherent to their medications.

When Irene Schloss de Brihuega, PharmD, was in high school, she moved to Northbrook, Illinois.

Like any teenager, she was on the lookout for a summer job. But little did Schloss de Brihuega know that the place where she took a cashier’s job, at the plaza within walking distance of her house, would be where she would end up years later.

She now owns 2 pharmacies: Nathan Pharmacy in Chicago, Illinois, and Dundee Pharmacy in Northbrook— where she worked in high school.

Schloss de Brihuega has been a pharmacist since 2007 and has owned Nathan Pharmacy since 2009.

In 2020, she learned that the previous owners of Dundee Pharmacy, whose family had owned the pharmacy since 1969, wanted to sell.

“When I found this out, I was very excited,” Schloss de Brihuega said. “This is like my home, you know. I lived there; I grew up there. This is kind of where I got everything started.”

Schloss de Brihuega purchased the pharmacy with the intention of giving it new life. Dundee Pharmacy features personalized care, vaccines, nonsterile compounding, and, its newest offering, compliance packaging, which involves separating patients’ medications into small pouches that list the date and time they should be taken.

This is especially ideal for travel because patients can pull off the strip and take it with them without having to take all the medication with them.

“We’ve actually had a [local] hospital reach out to us,” Schloss de Brihuega said. “They said ‘You know, we have noticed that anybody who uses your pharmacy has had far [fewer] readmissions than most other places.’”

The hospital asked to partner with the pharmacy to reduce hospital readmission because of the success of the compliance packaging, Schloss de Brihuega said.

Often, patients who are readmitted to the hospital are not taking their medications or are taking them incorrectly, she said.

Because of the partnership, Dundee Pharmacy tracks to see how and whether patients are taking their medications.

If they are taking them, a pharmacist reaches out to let the hospital know and make sure everything in the medication profile is updated, she said.

Another of Schloss de Brihuega’s goals was to reach out to the younger generation in the community, and she made sure the pharmacy’s grand reopening on June 24, 2022, was a child-friendly event.

“I wanted younger families to remember or to get to know us...know that we are there to help,” Schloss de Brihuega said. “We’re not just for the older people.”

Schloss de Brihuega aims to make the pharmacy visit a personalized experience by getting to know everyone who comes in.

“People are followed up on. If somebody has a new medication or something like that, we’ll make a phone call and we’ll say, ‘Hey, did you start on this medication yet? How are you feeling?’ Things like that,” Schloss de Brihuega said.

She emphasizes counseling, answering patient questions, and following up later.

Dundee Pharmacy offers a front-end store, selling items such as compression stockings and medical equipment.