Marion, OH,
23:24 PM

Special delivery: Patients embrace new meds-to-beds medication service

After a six-day stay due to a COPD flare-up, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital patient Leila Cook dreaded the hassle of driving to her neighborhood pharmacy upon discharge to fill three prescriptions. 

“I felt lousy and just wanted to go home,” she says. “I didn’t want to wait one or two hours on my prescriptions, drive there and drive back. My pharmacy is close to home, but it seemed like a trek across the prairie.”

When Marion General offered to fill her prescriptions in the hospital, she jumped at the opportunity.

“People usually don’t go out of their way to make life easier for you,” says the 71-year-old cook at Kingston Residence of Marion.

Leila is among hundreds of patients who have taken advantage of Marion General’s meds-to beds program, a concierge service that delivers prescription medications to the hospital bedside before discharge.

Marion General opened a retail pharmacy early in 2015 in order to implement the program, although it does not market itself as a storefront pharmacy available to the general public.

Medications are brought to the hospital room by a pharmacist who discusses the proper dosage, side effects and other issues with patients.

“I sit down and talk with them,” says Kent Launder, PharmD, RPh, the hospital’s retail care pharmacist, who delivered Leila’s medication. “I tell them how to use their medications, what to expect and go over any payment or insurance issues they might have. One of my favorite things about working in retail is talking to patients.”

Meds-to-beds is a free and voluntary service for Marion General patients, who still may use their regular pharmacy if they wish. Up to half of the hospital’s patients are opting for in-house delivery. The program has the potential to reduce readmissions because it improves compliance and eliminates delays in therapy while patients are waiting to have prescriptions filled.

“Everyone has been so positive about the program,” says Justin Hamper, PharmD, pharmacy site manager of the meds-to-beds program. ”It’s the same as filling a prescription at any retail store. We carry our own inventory and have a staff dedicated to this service line.

“The convenience is a big deal,” says Justin who knows they are doing the right thing when he sees the packed lines of people — many with mobility issues or new mothers with their babies — at the pharmacy near his house. “People wait an hour to drop-off their prescriptions and another hour to pick them up. That just doesn’t make sense.”

And, their patients couldn’t agree more.

“It’s so nice to have your prescriptions in hand before you even go home,” says Leila.

This story was originally published in the January/February 2016 issue of UpFront, an OhioHealth associate publication.