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DeKalb Medical and Walgreens Join Forces to Improve Outcomes and Enhance Hospital Patient Experience

November 03, 2011

DeKalb Medical has teamed up with Walgreens pharmacists to help patients understand and comply with medication therapies following treatment at the hospital - a collaborative relationship that has improved patient care and satisfaction just three months after implementation. DeKalb Medical improved its Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) top box scores pertaining to patient communications on medication from 50 percent to 63 percent over the 90-day period following the program’s launch. HCAHPS is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients’ perspectives on hospital care. HCAHPS scores have continued to trend upward beyond the initial 90-day period as operation of the comprehensive pharmacy program with Walgreens continues.

Walgreens operates a full-service outpatient pharmacy adjacent to DeKalb Medical’s Health and Wellness Store on the DeKalb Medical Main campus in Decatur. Beginning in July 2011, Walgreens pharmacy staff implemented a comprehensive patient-centered discharge medication program. Prior to hospital discharge, this service provides patients who elect to take advantage of the service with proper instruction focused on their new medication therapy, along with the convenience of prescription delivery to the patient at their bedside in the hospital. By eliminating the need to travel to a pharmacy following a hospital stay, the service contributes to the patient’s ability to comply with medication therapy. In addition, Walgreens pharmacists conduct follow-up phone calls to patients within 72 hours of discharge from the hospital to answer questions on medications, potential side effects and treatment programs.

“A patient who is informed and secure in their treatment program following a hospital stay is more likely to stay adherent to their medications and to achieve a better health outcome,” said Cathleen Wheatley, DeKalb Medical’s senior vice president and chief nurse executive. “By working with Walgreens, we’ve been able to ease the burden on DeKalb Medical patients and their families during challenging times by offering simple and easy access to medications and to health and pharmacy professionals who can address concerns and questions that can follow a hospital stay.”

The overall cost of poor medication adherence is approximately $290 billion per year to the U.S. health care system.1 In addition, studies show that for every 100 new prescriptions, only 15-20 percent are filled as prescribed.2

“This is a great example of the role our pharmacists can play in a coordinated care program that benefits both the patient and the hospital,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. “Medication therapies can be challenging for patients and caregivers. And services like bedside delivery, pharmacist follow-up with patients after discharge and ongoing access to Walgreens community pharmacists who provide education and counseling help ensure a smooth and healthy transition from the hospital to the home.”

The implementation of the programs with Walgreens was a key element of an overarching initiative by DeKalb Medical to improve patient satisfaction. DeKalb Medical was recognized for these efforts when it received a top award for innovation from VHA Georgia in September 2011.

About DeKalb Medical

With more than 800 doctors skilled in 55 medical specialties, DeKalb Medical (www.dekalbmedical.org) combines cutting-edge technology with compassion to effectively diagnose and treat our patients. A leader in cancer, heart attack treatment and orthopedics, the DeKalb Medical system has been growing with metro-Atlanta’s medical needs for 50 years.

The 627-bed not-for-profit health system includes DeKalb Medical at North Decatur (451 beds), DeKalb Medical Long Term Acute Care at Downtown Decatur (76 beds), DeKalb Medical at Hillandale (100 beds), the DeKalb Medical Physicians Group. Committed to pushing beyond to excel in patient satisfaction and service, our quality is reflected in many clinical excellence awards throughout our three-hospital system including recently ranking in the Top 5% in the Nation for Overall Orthopedic Services by HealthGrades® (2011).

About Walgreens

Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion. The company operates 7,779 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.

1 National Association of Chain Drugstores
2 IMS Health

Media Contacts:

Tori Vogt, Dekalb Medical, 404.501.2885

Gabe Weissman, Walgreens, 484.351.3040

2701 North Decatur Road Decatur, GA 30033
404.501.1000
Patient Inquiries: 404.501.5200

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