Just What the Doctor Ordered: A Pharmacy Onsite

Posted 26 August 2014 1:14 PM by TCAuthor3

By Dorothy Erdmann, CEO, Shawano Medical Center

Often times the media leave us with the impression that most good ideas start in bigger population centers and find their way to smaller cities and towns. It feels so good when you see the opposite thing happen—a close-knit community of smart people who propose a solution to a problem, and then the bigger guys take heed.

Here in Shawano, we are the only ThedaCare Physicians clinic with its own on-site retail pharmacy, complete with a very popular drive-up window. Our ThedaCare providers can prescribe for their patients during an appointment, and these patients can get their meds filled before they even leave the clinic.

The existence of both the pharmacy and its drive-up window came under review during the design phase of the new medical center that will share the campus with the clinic. Was the pharmacy even necessary, especially since no other ThedaCare Physicians clinic had one? Should we relocate the pharmacy and use that valuable space for something else? If we did, would anyone care that we took out the drive-up service? The answer from our patients, pharmacists, and providers was loud and clear—keep our clinic pharmacy! In fact, our pharmacy has become a closely watched experiment within the ThedaCare organization for several compelling reasons:

  • Currently, clinic patients and families primarily use the retail pharmacy at ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano. When the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano opens on the same campus, clinic patients, discharged patients and ER patients will all easily access the pharmacy.
  • Patients told us they liked being able to call in for refills, then pick them up quickly and easily at the drive-through window.
  • Research shows that patients who leave a hospital with their prescriptions in hand are much more likely to take their medications as directed than people who must make an extra trip to get their meds filled. They recover more quickly.
  • Hospitals across the country are working hard to keep their patients from having to be readmitted – returning to the hospital for the same illness. When we help these patients to recover well at home, including convenient access to their prescriptions, we cut down on readmissions. We all save money.

Convenient, effective health care with the goal of shorter recoveries, fewer complications and lower costs. That’s our vision for Shawano’s innovative clinic-based pharmacy service and beyond—and it’s just what the doctor ordered!