N.Y. hospital retail pharmacy aims to cut readmission rates

August 12, 2015

Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, N.Y., recently opened the first fully-functioning retail pharmacy in a hospital in the area.

Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, N.Y., recently opened the first fully-functioning retail pharmacy in a hospital in the area.

While the Medical Center already has a retail pharmacy where patients can receive medications they are already taking, patients previously were not able to receive medications upon discharge from the hospital, said William Smith, spokesperson for Richmond University Medical Center.

Pharmacists part of innovative programs to reduce hospital readmissions

The new 750-square-foot Richmond Pharmacy, which operates independently of the hospital, is expected to decrease the hospital’s readmission rates and improve medication adherence.  “Upon discharge, whether it is from the emergency room or the floors, patients have a lot of anxiety about how to properly take their medications. The more anxiety the patient has, the lesser the chances are of them following through and taking medication as prescribed,” said Barry Beshkin, co-owner of Richmond Pharmacy, which operates three other in-hospital retail pharmacies.

For patients who opt to receive the service, the pharmacy delivers the medication to the patients (or patients pick up at the pharmacy) upon discharge. The pharmacist counsels patients on the medications and how to take them. In addition, pharmacists follow up with patients 24 hours after discharge, “to see if they have any questions and make sure they are taking the medication properly,” Beshkin said.

The follow-up with patients – which can continue until their first doctor visit post-discharge – is vital to reducing readmission rates and improving medication adherence, according to Beshkin. “Nobody in our industry follows up with patients. Pharmacist do a great job of dispensing the mediation and explaining it at the time, but not following up.”

 

Sixty to 70% of patients prefer to receive the pharmacist counseling upon discharge, Beshkin has found.

Often, the patients become loyal customers to the pharmacy, if they live in the area. “It is a big benefit. We are within walking distance to a lot of community residents, so we may get some walk-in business as well,” Smith said.

The Richmond University Medical Center pharmacy also carries basic over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and surgical supplies.