Effective Decentralization of a Pharmacy Technician to Facilitate Delivery of Medications Prior to Discharge in a Community Hospital

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Background: There are many benefits to a well-designed prescription process and delivery service at the time of discharge from the hospital. However, the discharge prescription delivery service in our hospital has historically been infrequently utilized. Objective: To assess the number of patients with prescriptions in hand prior to discharge, the number of prescriptions filled, the duration of time to get discharge prescriptions to the floor, and the motivation patients had for declining the service. Methods: This single-center, quality improvement project was initiated as a pilot program from March through December 2015, utilizing a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) on a 56-bed cardiovascular floor from Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. All patients discharged during the pilot time period were included in the analysis. The CPhT was responsible for collecting, inputting, processing, delivering, and charging for discharge prescriptions. Results: The number of patients utilizing the service increased from an average of 68 to 132 per month, pre- and postintervention, respectively. Total prescriptions increased from 296 preintervention to 456 postintervention per month. Prescription delivery time to the patient was decreased by 28 minutes. Conclusions: The utilization of a decentralized CPhT in a 56-bed cardiology unit at a large community hospital increased both the number of patients and total number of prescriptions filled prior to discharge. Future studies are warranted to evaluate medication interventions at discharge and readmission rates in patients who have prescriptions in hand prior to discharge versus those that do not.

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