By Martin Kinnunen
A little more than a year ago, Arletta “Lettie”
Yahnke joined UPMC as director of its Retail Pharmacy Network. The
former district manager for Sam’s Club pharmacies recently discussed the growing
role of UPMC’s retail pharmacies in the delivery of high-quality patient care
Why is UPMC expanding its number of outpatient
So often at discharge, our patients are taken home by a
loved one. Once the patient is home, that spouse or adult child then has to
leave to pick up the prescription and take it back to the home. Not only is it
an inconvenience, it may not be the best method to ensure the patient has that
medication in a timely manner.
Our outpatient retail pharmacies can create a better
patient experience by ensuring that patients have their medications before they
leave the hospital. The physician can forward the prescription to the retail
pharmacy, and it can be delivered to the inpatient unit before discharge.
So it’s all about improving patient care and
Exactly. Before discharge, patients and families receive a wealth of information. There are details about follow-up appointments and therapy sessions, as well as instructions about diet, perhaps caring for a wound or incision, scheduling home health care services, and so many other issues. Amid all of this, we often expect our patients and families to stop at their grocery store or local pharmacy to get their medications.
Our outpatient retail pharmacies ensure that our patients have the medications they need when they leave the hospital, while eliminating that extra stop at the pharmacy on the way home. When our patients have their medication, we can reduce readmissions and prevent complications.
How many retail pharmacies does UPMC have?
There are eight and soon to be 10. In the next few months, we will open an
outpatient retail pharmacy in UPMC McKeesport. In the late summer, an outpatient
retail pharmacy will open on the first floor of UPMC Presbyterian.
Our eight existing retail pharmacies are Falk Pharmacy (Falk Medical Building
in Oakland), Hillman Pharmacy in Shadyside, Forbes Pharmacy in the Oxford
Building in Oakland, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Outpatient
Pharmacy, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC Outpatient Pharmacy, UPMC Mercy
Outpatient Pharmacy, Community Drugs Pharmacy in Franklin, Pa., and Bayside
Pharmacy near UPMC Hamot in Erie.
What is on the horizon for UPMC’s outpatient retail
We are working to install a new software system in the
retail pharmacies that will prioritize prescription orders as they are placed.
For example, prescriptions for discharge will be a priority over those that are
scheduled to be picked up later in the day. By assigning priorities to various
types of prescriptions, UPMC’s retail pharmacists can better manage their
workflow and have more time to tackle patient-centered tasks
What are those patient-centered tasks?
When these improvements are completed, retail
pharmacists will have more time for medication therapy management. Retail
pharmacists will have more time to contact patients at home and ask them if they
are experiencing any problems or issues taking their medications or getting
refills. They will work with patients to reduce medication-related adverse
events by emphasizing that many drugs, for instance, Coumadin, should not be
taken in combination with other medications, such as aspirin. The pharmacists
also will work with patients to enhance medication adherence to improve patient