This is part of ScriptPro’s In the Field series, which highlights ScriptPro customers engaging in unique pharmacy programs that positively impact their local communities.
Children’s Mercy Riverside stores and ships home care supplies, and is now home to the new Refill Center. CMH expects to increase its refill rate by 50-70% over the next two years.
“The continuum of care is one of the most important things we have here at the hospital,” says Chip Bruce, R.Ph., assistant director of pharmacy at Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics (CMH), Kansas City.
CMH operates a main campus in downtown Kansas City, MO, and another in Overland Park, KS, as well as multiple clinics farther afield to meet the needs of families throughout the two states.
Supporting families whose children require specialized care is a complex dance between inpatient and outpatient processes – requiring integrated systems, transparency across the healthcare setting’s network, and streamlined outpatient services.
Transitional care starts with Meds to Beds
For CMH, the transition of care from inpatient to outpatient starts with its Meds to Beds program, which focuses on medication counseling for patients just before hospital check-out. “Our Meds to Beds program has made a huge impact since we launched it a few years ago,” notes Bruce. “We can make sure all of a patient’s medications are correctly filled, that the potency is accurate. We’re talking about children, so total accuracy is vital.”
“We have some really complicated pediatric patients – a couple who are the only one or two in the world with their condition. We don’t want a family to worry about how they’re going to get all of their prescriptions pulled together or if dosing has been prepared correctly.”
Improving Rx accessibility, reducing readmittance through mail order
CMH’s Refill Center, which went live in July 2018, is tasked with taking on all refills from the individual clinics and sending prescriptions directly to families.
Sarah Ashby, PharmD, verifies prescriptions on ScriptPro’s SP Datapoint.
Currently, CMH captures only about 25% of patient refills. Over the next two years, the Refill Center is aiming for a 50-70% increase, meaning an additional 3,000-4,000 prescriptions a month. “This will be a significant volume increase as well as whole new avenue to provide care for our pediatric patients,” says Bruce. “We have families with special needs and/or non-mobile children, who have to come to a campus to pick up refills every month. Part of this effort will be easing that burden and gaining the trust of our families – that they can simply call in a refill 3-4 days in advance and it will show up at their door.”
CMH performs a lot of specialized compounding for pediatrics, taking tablets and capsules and turning them into liquids that children can take. One of these regularly compounded medications is for immunosuppression in children who have had a transplant. According to Bruce, it’s not a hard compound to prepare, but outside pharmacies struggle with it. “Kids come back with their blood levels all over the place. For years, our pharmacy specialists and doctors have been asking for the ability to mail these prescriptions to families, and now we can.”
The value of EHR integration
CMH Staffer Micala Edmonds packages prescriptions for mailing to patients.
The Refill Center has the huge advantage of their SP Central Pharmacy Management System integrating with the healthcare setting’s EHR. Staff have all the outpatient pharmacy records and access to the inpatient medical records. When questions arise, they can go directly to the source to clarify. Equally important, staff can also reach out to the providers and come up with solutions or alternatives that might better meet a particular patient’s needs. “Because we have this integrated system, we believe we’re the safest pharmacy in the area for children.”
Everything from traditional medications to compounds, specialty, and sterile room med prep can be handled by the Refill Center. By identifying patient needs and then tapping into technology that provides an end-to-end solution, CMH is a powerful model for other healthcare organizations.
Making an impact, one family at a time
Bruce reflects on the tangible value the Refill Center is already bringing to families. “Recently, a mother called the main campus pharmacy just before we opened, and I happened to pick up the phone. She was making arrangements for her children and about to hop in the car for the five-hour roundtrip from Joplin, MO, to pick up a refill. I explained to her that our new refill facility could quickly and easily fill and ship the prescriptions to her and would she like us to do that. There was complete silence on the line, and then I heard her crying. She asked if I was kidding, and I said, ‘No, ma’am, I am not. We developed this service for you and every family who relies on CMH.’”
A key mission of CMH is to offer all the services families need in one spot – from inpatient to outpatient. And, the Refill Center is a valuable component to making that a reality.