Skiff Medical Center and Health Enterprises celebrated the debut of the new ePharmacy project that went live at 5 p.m. May 7 at the Newton hospital.
Nationally, only 20 percent of facilities have pharmacist coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Hospitals report that the greater their coverage from pharmacists, the fewer medications errors that are seen. Round-the-clock involvement by a pharmacist is considered the cornerstone of a top-quality medication use program.
Through ePharmacy, Health Enterprises pharmacists are available after hours to review and verify orders over the Internet prior to administration. Additionally, the pharmacists provide drug information and medication use problem solving on the phone for hospital staff and physicians. These services can be provided remotely in a collaborative fashion at only a quarter or third of the cost of an on-site, after-hours pharmacist.
Michael Benedict, vice president at Health Enterprises, said that patient safety is the primary goal of the service.
"By bringing people, processes and technology together, we will be able to improve outcomes for our patients," he said.
Skiff Medical Center is one of several Iowa hospitals that are taking part in the program.
Health Enterprises, based in Cedar Rapids, is a non-profit organization owned by health-care organizations, like Skiff. The enterprise is in the early stages of establishing a regional clinical laboratory that will be located within the former Maytag headquarters complex near downtown Newton.