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(l-r) Elizabeth Bauer, Robert Reynolds, Ashley Blazewick welcome the community to Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy at Dunlap Family Outpatient Center

Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy Provides Personal Care and Exceptional Service at St. Clair Health
By Nancy Kennedy

The transition to home is an important element of a patient’s experience of hospital admission or outpatient surgery. Even when things have gone well and the outcome is favorable, a rocky discharge and transition to home can unravel the whole experience for the patient and family. At St. Clair Health, the transition to home has been simplified and enhanced through innovative approaches, including a new, patient-centered pharmacy service that is the first of its kind in the Pittsburgh region: Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy.

On the main floor of Dunlap Family Outpatient Center, St. Clair Health’s beautiful new outpatient facility adjacent to the hospital, this highly specialized pharmacy recently opened, bringing new options, amenities and personalized care to patients and families. Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is a full-service, retail pharmacy offering a range of services that make it possible for patients to experience exceptional convenience, including the ability to immediately fill prescriptions in the same building where they have just had out-patient surgery, a diagnostic procedure, or cancer treatment.

According to Robert B. Reynolds, Pharm.D., director of pharmacy services for St. Clair Health, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is an integral element of the Dunlap Center’s emphasis on an improved patient experience. “This pharmacy is a collaboration between St. Clair Health and Walgreens and it offers many advantages for patients, caregivers and the community,” he states. “It has been designed to improve health care in our community in several important ways: It eases the transition to home, as you no longer have to stop at a neighborhood pharmacy after having a test or procedure. You simply stop by the Walgreens pharmacy here and then continue directly home. This is important because if you don’t feel well after a procedure, you may be tempted to skip the stop to fill your prescriptions. Postponing medications may lead to complications.”

Postponing a prescription or failing to adhere to the prescribed medication regimen can lead not only to complications, but also to ER trips or even re-admission to the hospital. At St. Clair, Walgreens will offer a “Meds to Beds” program, which consists of bedside delivery of medications along with individualized patient or caregiver education, prior to discharge. The Meds to Beds program reduces the risk of re-admission and will be offered to both inpatients and outpatients.

Another advantage, explains Ashley Blazewick, Pharm. D., Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy manager, is a telephone follow-up program to make certain that things are going smoothly at home. “We make sure that there are no gaps between the pharmacy and home. Our specially trained pharmacists call each patient within 48 hours. We make sure they are taking their meds correctly and that they understand them.”

Patient feedback about the services has been highly positive. “People love the convenience,” says Reynolds. “They appreciate the chance to speak with a pharmacist and ask questions as they learn about their medications. We solve problems for them.”

Walgreens provides additional services to patients through a unique program for those with rare, complex and chronic conditions. Elizabeth Bauer, MBA, Strategic Account Manager, Walgreens East, explains that Walgreens collaborates with national patient advocacy organizations, such as the PAN Foundation, to identify needs and resources. “Help is also available through Walgreens to help people solve problems with prior authorization, co-payment challenges and insurance verification. Walgreens is part of a global parent company, with exceptional access to limited distribution, hard-to-find drugs for patients,” Bauer says.

 “What we are doing, essentially, is making everything easier for the patient,” says Reynolds. “The physicians will like this service and will be eager to have their patients use Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy because they will see that it prevents patients from falling through the cracks. What makes the collaboration successful is that Walgreens and St. Clair Health are on the same page in terms of our values. We both set the bar very high on quality, safety and patient satisfaction.”

Ashley Blazewick adds: “The relationship between St. Clair and the community is outstanding. We exceed industry standards already and we will continue to grow and enhance our services and quality. We listen to our community, learn what they need and work to provide it. We welcome everyone to visit the Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy at Dunlap Family Outpatient Center, to fill prescriptions or purchase over-the-counter products. You don’t need to be a patient.”

To learn more about Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy and the Dunlap Family Outpatient Center, visit www.stclair.org.



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