In early Americana, pharmacies and drug stores played a critical role in the life of every town. Even today, you can find a Walgreen’s on every corner in most metropolitan areas. The new Trinity Hospital will have two pharmacies when it opens, playing a critical role in the convenience and wellbeing of our patients.
The inpatient pharmacy is in the Acute Care Tower on the hospital’s south side. This is where drugs are stored and dispensed to other areas of the hospital and community clinics for administration to patients by healthcare providers. As a back of house function, it is not open to the public, so unless you work there, you will never see it.
Design and layout of the inpatient pharmacy includes a centralized area that will house mixing rooms, three of which are dedicated to IV meds. The mixing rooms are designed as Positive and Negative Pressure Rooms to prevent contamination and cross-contamination of medications. To maintain precise sterile conditions, pharmacists gown up in an ante room before entering the mixing room where HEPA filters monitor and control air flow. To maintain long term cleanliness and sterile conditions, these rooms are inspected and recertified every 6 months.
Medications manufactured in the inpatient pharmacy are sent to corresponding departments and medical staff by a highly technological tube delivery system.
For predosed medications, such as a 100 or 200 milligram tablet of Celebrex, for example, a large carousel holds hundreds of bins that store medications by ways of a barcode/UPC code. A pharmacist or pharmacy tech enters the name of the drug on a monitor which activates the carousel to rotate to the correct shelf and bin for removal of the medication. Medications are loaded into pyxis machines and tracked by ways of the established barcode to ensure there are no errors in delivery. Inventory reports are generated daily to ensure meds are replenished in a timely manner.
“Centralizing inpatient pharmacy responsibilities and upgrading to state-of-the-art technology creates efficiencies that translate into fewer mistakes, shorter delivery times and better patient care,” said Dave Kohlman, vice president of Facilities.
However, not everything is centralized in the inpatient pharmacy. Consultant pharmacists are found on designated floors and work side by side with providers on drug regimens for patient care. They perform medication regimen reviews based on a patient’s health history to evaluate the appropriateness, safety, benefits, risks and cost-effectiveness of medication therapy. The consultant pharmacist may provide alternate treatment options, as well as medication management guidance including drug monitoring, documentation, administration and storage.
As the transition from the current to the new hospital evolves, the inpatient pharmacy will load all its inventory into the new site, as well as maintain the 50 pyxis machines that auto dispense medication in various units. Larger store rooms will allow Trinity to maintain a larger inventory, better pricing and quicker turnarounds for medication requests.
Trinity’s outpatient/retail pharmacy is a new addition that will be added to the two retail locations it currently operates. It is open to the public and will be located near the first-floor elevators on the north side of the new medical building. For additional ease, the pharmacy is assessible from both the front and back doors of the building. Better yet, the drive through kiosk is located right off 37th Avenue SW, so you don’t even need to leave your vehicle!
The interior design provides more retail space, a larger waiting area and seating. However, soon-to-be discharged hospital patients are assisted by Trinity’s Meds4U Program, a free service that offers education about medication and delivers prescriptions and over the counter medications to patients before they leave the hospital. This service helps prevent medication interruptions and the inconvenience of another stop (or long wait) before going home.
Whether at the counter or drive through, Trinity Health Pharmacy will be ready to serve patients in a fresh, white, bright and light environment. Soon enough, it will become your preferred neighborhood pharmacy.
“Our location in the medical building places the pharmacy in a key location that is either on your way to or from an appointment. We will be available to fill prescriptions as patients leave their providers’ office, or at the drive through kiosk when they need a quick refill,” said Loralee Feininger, director of retail pharmacy. “We look forward to seeing both new and familiar faces in our new location!”
Despite the behind-the-scenes activity in these busy hubs, Trinity’s pharmacies operate like an undertow: a constant, rhythmic current, barely noticeable on the periphery of our consciousness. And yet, they serve as an essential contributor to the ebb and flow of an individual’s healthcare management.