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How an Outpatient Pharmacy Enhances Your Healthcare

What is the biggest reason to use a pharmacist that works with a hospital? Doing so directly affects the quality of care both provided and received, allowing for true comprehensive healthcare. As an outpatient hospital pharmacist, I have a unique advantage: From the time a patient visits a hospital to the time they go home, I help doctors provide continued care.

Better Than Retail

Because we work hand-in-hand with hospitals and doctors, we also have access to the patient’s medical history. A retail pharmacy, on the other hand, may not have an electronic medical records system in place.

These systems have important information about a patient, everything from their vitals and lab results to notes from their doctor taken during appointments. These are important pieces to the puzzle in the outpatient world.

If they have any allergies, we’ll know. That is part of their record. A retail pharmacy may not ask for that and patients may not remember what they’re allergic to; what causes allergic reactions may never get shared at all.

Much of the time, medications require prior authorizations. Sometimes their medications are not covered by their medical insurance. As an outpatient hospital pharmacist, we are better placed to reach those providers in a more convenient way, helping avoid the delay of a prescription fill.

A Real Advocate 

It’s essential that patients trust their pharmacists. When trust exists, patients are more likely to comply with their medication regimens.  Patients are more receptive to being educated about their therapy and tend to follow through. A pharmacist helps them discover whether or not they can afford a certain prescription. If they don’t trust them enough to share that, it’s possible they will never get the medication they need. When it is understood we are here to help, trust is built. It’s what gets patients to return to us much of the time.

A pharmacist can be a real advocate for the patient and their healthcare. We understand them. We know what got them into the hospital and we know what complications they face once they leave. If there is a transportation issue that prevents them from being able to pick up their medications, I help ensure they receive their medications with our Scripts to Go program.

We explain why they need what they need (over-the-counter medicines and otherwise) and why prior authorization is necessary. We explain why the medication they have been prescribed is the best one for them, according to the guidelines and history that we have.

Bridging the Gap

Pharmacists act as a bridge between physicians and patients. We have the ability to see our patients from start to finish. It’s our responsibility to ensure they get the medications they need and understand they can follow up with us when needed.

In a way, it helps create accountability — establishing good, successful communication. It’s important to make certain the patient gets their blood pressure under control, but it’s also important to follow up and provide continued care. This means caring for that chronically ill person day in and day out. It means making sure that person’s diabetes is under control.

Pharmacists provide  a valuable service to patients and their doctors. By utilizing our  medication expertise to helping manage medication therapy, we can help patients better control chronic diseases and improve their health.


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