St. John Valley

Hospital finds pharmacy a success

MADAWASKA, Maine — Since the purchase of a retail pharmacy in Madawaska last spring, Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) has been focused on the development of a strategic plan to enhance the medication delivery system for the patients it serves. An important component of the acquisition of the retail pharmacy, in addition to filling prescriptions, is to serve as a resource for wellness and disease prevention, and not the least important, to make personal attention a priority.

Janice Collins, lead pharmacist at the NMMC Pharmacy, possesses valuable expertise and knowledge of the community needs.

She is a native of the St. John Valley, with retail pharmacy experience since 1992. In addition to servicing the outpatient public, she and the entire team work closely with the NMMC pharmacy department to implement processes to improve medication adherence and patient care after discharge.

One such process is the ability to access hospitalization records prior to discharge from the hospital, thereby improving the communication between inpatient and outpatient care teams, and resulting in the reduction of costly hospital readmissions and improved patient outcomes. Access to electronic records is an important asset because an outpatient prescription does not provide any information related to the current condition and past history.

“Being a part of the inpatient continuum of care allows us as a pharmacy provider to close the loop and integrate the inpatient hospital experience with outpatient services,” Collins said.

She also said that the pharmacist’s ability to review important patient health information when filling a prescription is critically important in providing an added safety level in medication prescribing and administration. Additionally, she believes establishing a strong professional relationship with patients can generate meaningful rewards for patients, including medication adherence.

Collins and her team in Madawaska are working on other strategies that have been shown to improve medication adherence as well as improve the patient experience: implementing well-designed multi-dose packaging systems, home delivery services and prescription medication assistance programs.

Renovations are currently underway at the pharmacy to provide a redesigned storefront which will improve privacy for medication counseling and the administration of immunizations. To address educational needs, staff are developing a monthly calendar that will provide varied programming related to pertinent healthcare topics, to include help sessions for the creation of living wills, applying for financial assistance, and creating patient portal accounts, with staff available on site for assistance.

The hospital will release more details of the new service and an open house once the renovation project is completed.

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