Providence Tarzana Medical Center and Walgreens partner to help patients transition from hospital to home
March 14, 2016
Walgreens’ WellTransitions program helps improve patient outcomes
Providence Tarzana Medical Center will implement Walgreens’ WellTransitions program this week to help patients manage their medications after discharge, a partnership aimed at limiting return trips to the hospital.
WellTransitions is a free program for some Medicare patients hospitalized for treatment of heart failure, heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and peripheral neuropathy to ensure they take their prescribed medications once they are home.
Patients often are bewildered in those first few days after treatment for these serious, chronic conditions and either do not fill their prescriptions or they fail to take their medications. These lapses often result in costly hospital readmissions.
“Our patients may be at their most vulnerable when they leave the hospital, often still healing and anxious about managing their recovery at home, and following their post-discharge directions,” said Dale Surowitz, chief executive, Providence Tarzana Medical Center. “This partnership with Walgreens helps to address that anxiety by providing reminders and dialogue with clinicians to ease patients’ concerns and to help coordinate their care.”
Patients who choose the program are visited in the hospital by a Walgreens pharmacy technician who reviews their prescription medications with them, their doses, schedules and the reason for the drug and answers questions. A few days after discharge, a pharmacist contacts the patient and then follows up again 10 days and 25 day later.
Patients do not have to be Walgreens customers to participate in the program.
WellTransitions is endorsed by the American Hospital Association for its effectiveness in reducing hospital readmissions. Walgreens cites research that shows two concerns: newly discharged patients frequently discontinue medications on their own and 25 percent of new prescriptions are not filled. Both factors are can result preventable trips to Emergency Departments.
“We’re working with a growing number of hospitals and health systems across the country through coordinated care programs like WellTransitions, that are helping to reduce health care costs, while improving medication adherence and patient outcomes,” said Nimesh Jhaveri, Walgreens divisional vice president, health services development. “Preventable hospital readmissions continue to be an industry-wide challenge, focus and priority. And we’re proud to have demonstrated the important role our pharmacists can play in helping to reduce readmissions, as part of a collaborative, team-based model in WellTransitions.
The Walgreens pharmacy staff coordinates discharge efforts with hospital case managers and nurses, reviewing any issues that might delay discharge, such as prescription coverage.
Once the patient has been discharged, Walgreens pharmacists contact patients on behalf of Providence Tarzana to reaffirm the patient understands the prescribed medication regimen and to answer any questions. The pharmacists also encourage patients to follow up with their physicians. The pharmacists provide information on medication side effects, dosages, food and drug interactions, missed dosages and any other special instructions.
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Walgreens, one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,173 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Walgreens also manages more than 400 Healthcare Clinic and provider practice locations around the country.