Our rate of growth is astonishing. Customer loyalty is incredibly high. Patients are telling their families and friends about our adherence program and packaging, too.
Ramesh Upadhyayula, R.Ph.
As part of the Desert Regional Medical Center, Ramesh needed to position his pharmacy for profitable partnerships with the associated hospital and neighboring medical offices.
While looking for areas to demonstrate an impact on patient outcomes and the bottom line for other health care providers, he found his opportunity: keep chronic heart failure (CHF) patients healthy at home after discharge.
In 2012, heart disease and stroke accounted for nearly 30 percent of deaths in California. Nearly one in four heart failure patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. With the increasing financial burden of hospital readmissions, hospitals are looking for ways to keep patients healthy at home. Tackling medication non-adherence, a leading cause of readmissions, makes sense clinically and financially.
Desert Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy rolled out a medication adherence program in early 2013. Ramesh paired elements from the National Community Pharmacists Association’s synchronization program, Simplify My Meds™, with Parata PASS strip packaging.
“Parata PASS sorts medications and supplements into pouches by day and time, the way patients take them,” Ramesh explains. “It makes managing complex medication regimens simple.”
The pharmacy team began transitioning patients managing chronic conditions to PASS packaging. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
Ramesh approached the hospital director about the adherence program with patient success stories and samples of the strip packaging. The director saw potential right away.
Now, Desert Regional Medical Center requires all chronic heart failure patients to participate in Ramesh’s adherence program — at no charge to the patient. The hospital foots the bill for the 30-day supply of medication, and Ramesh’s team delivers the packaged meds to the patient’s bedside before discharge.
With multiple patients signing up for the adherence program each day, Ramesh recently hired another pharmacist to help provide medication therapy management so he has time to market the growing program.
Ramesh is also solidifying two new relationships. He’s working with another community hospital on plans to capture pneumonia patients at discharge. And Desert Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy recently joined Desert Oasis Healthcare, one of the largest accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Palm Springs.
“This network is a great channel to spread the word about medication adherence,” says Ramesh. “More than 130 local physicians regularly receive literature about our adherence program, giving us the potential to reach more than 50,000 patients.”
The ACO case managers refer their most complex cases to Ramesh, confident that his adherence program will make it easier for patients to manage their medications and health.
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