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3 Keys to Meds-To-Beds Success at an Outpatient Pharmacy

During a visit to a large 340B hospital last month, we were surprised to discover that their outpatient pharmacy's meds-to-beds program is only capturing about 3% of all discharges. This compares to a 45%+ capture rate that we see at most hospitals that we work with. The pharmacy team realized the significant profits that leave the hospital (not to mention the benefits that meds-to-beds brings to readmissions) with not being at the industry average, but could not understand what they were missing.

If your hospital is capturing less than 40% of patient discharges, you are underperforming many of your hospital peers and not maximizing your potential. Plus, you are lagging in hospital best-practices, which heavily encourages meds-to-beds programs for patient care.

We have found that the following "people" factors are key in making a hospital's meds-to-beds programs successful.

1. C-Suite Buy-In

It is important that the C-Suite understands the benefits of a meds-to-beds program. It may come by showing the CFO the financial benefits of such a program; maybe it is reporting the patient care benefits to the CNO; or perhaps it is showing the COO how you are lagging peers.

A champion from the C-Suite will increase your chances of success, regardless of their role. They have the power to drive the operational change as well as communicate the importance of the program through all levels of the hospital. Further, and importantly, A C-Suite champion will ensure that staffing matches the meds-to-beds program’s needs.

2: Don't Overburden Your Nursing Staff

The biggest meds-to-beds failures arise when the nursing staff does not actively support the program. We all know that nurses are very busy and have a lot on their plate, so make sure they understand the benefits to the patient of going home with their medication. It also helps to have pharmacy technicians that can talk to the patients about the program rather than putting this burden on the nurses.

3: Hire the Right Pharmacy Technicians

A pharmacy tech who visits all patients, explains the program and is heavily focused on customer service is essential to improved capture rates. This person is the front-line marketer of the meds-to-beds program and strong communication skills is a must.

The pharmacy tech will explain the ease of the program and encourage its use. They can overcome hurdles like the patient not having a credit card for co-pays; or perhaps not having their Rx benefit plan information with them. They can discuss affordability issues and direct patients to appropriate programs (or discharge planners) that can help with this problem. Another important consideration with pharmacy technicians, is whether you need bi-lingual speakers, based upon your patient demographics.

With the right staff on board and the right buy-in across the organization, the success of your meds-to-beds programs will be greatly enhanced.