“Meds-To Beds” Increases Prescription Adherence
Heart attack patients may be relieved to be discharged. But discharge from the hospital may also be filled with trepidation about new medications. And, with those new medications come instructions on how and when to take them.
One more step is required. The patient or caregiver has to make a stop at a pharmacy, possibly waiting in line, to pick up the new prescriptions. Or, the patient is taken home first and someone else picks up the prescriptions.
Genesis Medical Center and other hospitals across the country are trying to eliminate a step in the process. “Meds-to-Beds” initiatives deliver the medications directly to the patient prior to discharge.
Before patients leave the hospital, they are given the option of receiving their medications to take with them. The Genesis initiative was popular especially during the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I wish everyone, including Genesis staff, could hear the reaction of patients. The reaction of patients during COVID is very positive. They love this service,’’ said Jason Hansel, pharmacist and manager of Genesis FirstMed pharmacy. “It was understandable that patients leaving the hospital would not want to wait for prescriptions in a public setting during the outbreak.
“We had a ‘Meds-to-Beds’ program before COVID but during CCOVID there was much more engagement from our staff on the floors and with our patients. About 50% of patients used the service during COVID. We’re back to about 30% but the response of patients participating has remained positive.”
Hansel said the purpose of “Meds-to-Beds’’ is not only to provide convenience to patients. There are also significant health benefits for patients.
“Every study done has found that 30 percent or more of prescriptions are never picked up from the pharmacy. As high as 70 percent of patients don’t take their prescriptions as prescribed. Up to 80 percent of patients don’t refill their prescriptions,’’ Hansel explained.
The lack of adherence to prescribed use is a national issue.
“When patients don’t take medications properly, their condition returns or gets worse and some people die,’’ he said. “The drugs don’t do their job if they aren’t taken correctly or taken at all.’’
There is also high cost associated with patients who don’t adhere to medication plans prescribed for them. The cost to Medicare related to unfilled or unused prescriptions has been found to be nearly $300 billion per year from readmissions.
“The health of the patients and convenience are the ideas behind our ‘Meds-to-Beds’ but certainly the high costs of readmissions is also a factor,’’ Hansel said.
Hansel said Genesis Medical Center staff can help support “Meds-to-Beds” by making patients aware of the initiative.
“The more engagement we have from staff, the more likely we are to send patients home with their medication and information about how to take them,’’ he said.