Pick up your meds on your way home from the hospital
For many patients, being discharged from the hospital or leaving an outpatient facility can be a busy and stressful time, and patient energy is often focused simply on getting home.
Building on the momentum of the ongoing Meds to Beds program, Cape Cod Healthcare has begun a program called Meds To Go, designed to ensure that patients leaving the hospitals and outpatient centers have all current prescriptions filled and in hand.
This transition service is designed to improve patient engagement and to ensure that more patients adhere to medication protocols after leaving one of the CCHC facilities covered by the program, said CCHC Pharmacy Operations Manager Angela Medeiros.
In addition to patients at Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital, Meds to Go is available to outpatients in oncology, emergency departments, behavioral health and urgent care facilities, and at JML Care Center.
While most hospitals have an on-site pharmacy, this formal effort by CCHC goes beyond mere convenience to ensure that patients are prepared when they leave one of its medical facilities. Meds to Go is specifically designed to reduce the risk of readmissions resulting from a failure to adhere to dosage schedules, as well as to increase patients’ opportunities to connect with caregivers and other important support personnel.
“CCHC wants to provide an excellent experience for all our patients,” she said. “Part of that is ensuring that patients receive the medications they need to get better. We want to avoid noncompliance and non-use of prescriptions in order to deliver the best care and the quickest, most successful recovery.”
Helps Patients Comply
The Meds to Go program removes the burden of having to make a stop at the local drugstore to retrieve medications prescribed at discharge. Research indicates that almost 20 percent of patients fail to have prescriptions filled after leaving a medical facility, which has a negative impact on recovery and can result in relapse and re-admission. Non-adherence, misuse, and missed refills are part of the reasons why 15-25 percent of hospital patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge.
The program provides patients with information about their drug treatment costs in a supportive, unrushed environment. Pharmacists and case managers are available to answer questions and provide information about the purpose and effects of specific medications and their schedules.
Patients also have access to financial assistance programs such as copay reductions and free trial cards. This financial support can help to avoid a patient’s failure to take prescribed medications due to a perceived inability to afford them, which is another measurable cause of return visits to the hospital.
After a caregiver determines a patient’s eligibility for the Meds to Go program, prescriptions are sent electronically to the CCHC Pharmacy in time to be ready upon discharge. Bedside delivery is available, or prescriptions can be picked up at the retail pharmacy before departure. Consultation is available either by phone or in-person at pick-up.
Although filling and adhering to prescriptions is only part of a patient’s successful recovery, the Meds to Go program helps ease the stress of coming home from the hospital or urgent care, and makes the road to recovery that much smoother.