How medication management tech helps one hospital better identify interventions

CGH Medical Center is a 97-bed hospital located in Sterling, Illinois. As a small facility, preventable readmissions represent a huge financial and clinical uncertainty. The hospital knew that not taking medications as prescribed after discharge is a major driver of readmissions. Thus, it knew it needed a way to manage that risk and improve overall patient care. But the hospital didn’t have a way to monitor or intervene on these patients’ behalf or consistently track and report on these patients.

The hospital contracted with PipelineRx to use its Patient Discharge Solution, which provides a workflow that helps pharmacists work with patients at and following their discharge.

“This solution allows pharmacists to selectively enroll high-risk patients, then prepare for and provide counseling to these patients and their caregivers on their medication prior to discharge,” said CGH Medical Center Assistant Director of Pharmacy Chris Flemming. “Through detailed chart reviews, the pharmacist essentially reconciles the patient’s medication regimen by comparing the medications the patient was taking before they were admitted with those ordered at the hospital and what they were prescribed at discharge.”

The PipelineRx solution allows pharmacists to document duplication of therapy, recommended dose changes, or other interventions for the provider to review. Once everything is finalized, they use the system to generate a “Med Card” that lists all the patient’s medications in a user-friendly format.

“The workflow also includes reminders for pharmacists to follow up with patients after they’ve transitioned to a long-term care facility or returned home to ensure they are taking their medications correctly and to address any side effects or other medication-related questions,” Flemming said.

CGH Medical Center worked with PipelineRx to customize the pharmacy workflow based on the hospital’s preferences. They then assigned pharmacists and pharmacy interns to manage this program during their rotation.

“For each patient, the workflow could easily be customized further, by selecting or deselecting activities,” Flemming said. “Whenever the pharmacist logs in, they would see all the patients that were enrolled and what the next steps were, receiving reminders when an activity was due.”

The PipelineRx solution is integrated with the hospital’s Cerner EHR system, which allows pharmacists to generate and print the Med Card. Flemming says the patients love having a simple card with their medication information and directions on it.

Pharmacists counseled more than 650 patients in the first eight months of the program and identified medication interventions in nearly half of all discharges. These changes often had a major impact on patient safety and the cost of their medications.

“While we haven’t been able to measure it yet, we are looking into how this program will impact our overall readmission rates and penalties,” said CGH Director of Pharmacy Tim Dunphy. “Anecdotally, we have already received very positive feedback from our patients and staff.”

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