With adults aged 65 and older taking an average of four medications per day, the pharmacy is a frequent and required stop for this population. After the onset of the pandemic, pharmacies were handed a difficult blow — being asked to continue their daily fulfillment of already overwhelming dispensing volumes while acting as frontline workers. Innovation became critical, and creating a workflow that was both cost- and time-effective while meeting the needs of increasingly vulnerable populations was imperative to protecting these patients, pharmacy staff, and the viability of the business.
Innovative Pharmacies Ahead of the Curve
Grane Rx, a high-output, long-term care pharmacy in Pittsburgh, Pa., was positioned for success. The pharmacy had already been operating under a model that aimed to keep seniors at home, aging in place and out of not only the hospital, but also the pharmacy. Come COVID-19, the pharmacy’s biggest objective was to continue business as usual.
Grane’s key to success was its decision to lean on pharmacy automation. With the ability to rapidly fill thousands of prescriptions each day, keeping up with volume was a passive act. Much of Grane Rx’s customer base relies on its adherence packaging, which can be delivered straight to a patient’s home or facility. At a time when contactless services are an absolute must, especially for at-risk individuals and their caregivers, Grane Rx makes safely aging in place a reality.
Grane Rx has worked with our nursing home to help us get better than benchmark status on quality measures. I want to say in 23 out of 26 months — 5 star quality rating.
– Mary Anne Foley, R.N., M.S.N., Chief Operating Officer, Jewish Association on Aging
A Measurable Value-Add for Facilities
Grane Rx’s Meds2Home program is a shining example of how pharmacies, especially those using central-fill models, can produce positive patient outcomes simply by making compliance easy and accessible. Pharmacies that offer adherence packaging for multimed patients are immediately more attractive to health systems and care facilities than those offering only vial filling. Compliance packaging has been proven to prevent medication dosing errors not just for patients taking their own meds, but for caregivers and nurses as well. Those quality improvements in turn result in meaningful payer relationships.
The Meds2Home program uses pouch packaging options suited for patients taking multiple medications, and goes beyond day-of-the-week labeling by offering custom layouts unique to a patient’s regimen. Additionally, Grane Rx’s packaging uses easy-to-read instructions, incorporating pictures, symbols, and colors to make dosing clear — and is likely the only pharmacy in the United States to produce such packaging in 22 different languages.
Taking These Innovations Forward
With programs like home delivery already in place, Grane Rx was well positioned to handle the pandemic. While you may be inclined to attribute these successes to the pharmacy’s scale, Grane Rx sets the standard for adherence and home delivery programs that can set your pharmacy up for success. This model, which is replicable by facilities of any size, can be scaled down or up using a myriad of assisting and supportive levels of automation.
With refills and deliveries for the highest-need patients happening reliably behind the scenes, pharmacists are able to perform at the top of their license, and technicians are freed up for meaningful and effective in-person consultation. As the role of the pharmacist continues to evolve and expand, automating as many tasks as possible will be the baseline standard for success, and the critical foundation upon which all of pharmacy can step into the future. CT