July 28, 2011 – In years past hospital pharmacists could be found one place and one place only – inside the pharmacy. Times have changed and Hallmark Health pharmacists are now up on the patient floors, taking a more active role in patient care and collaborating with physicians and nurses.
At Hallmark Health System, which includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, pharmacists are leaders in their field and well ahead of area competitors providing the very best in pharmacy care.
Hallmark Health operates pharmacies at each of its hospitals as well as the Hallmark Health Cancer Center in Stoneham. All three locations are completely state-of-the-art after undergoing major renovations over the past few years. The pharmacists use cutting edge technology and equipment to monitor patients’ medication levels, possible drug interactions and they also work to cut down on medical errors by introducing a number of checks and balances to the system to ensure the right patient gets the right medication at the right time.
Technology has also allowed the pharmacists to leave the pharmacy and visit patient floors. Each pharmacist is armed with a laptop that allows them to monitor what is going on with patients no matter where they are in the hospital. Pharmacists regularly meet with patients before they are discharged from the hospital to discuss the medications they are taking, who can help them track and refill their prescriptions as well as tips for increasing medication compliance, as medication non-compliance is one of the top reasons patients get re-admitted to the hospital.
“Pharmacists are the medication experts so it is important we meet with patients to make sure they fully understand their regimens and have any and all of their questions answered,” said Michelle Corrado, system director of pharmacy services. “Technology has allowed pharmacists the ability to leave the pharmacy and have that face time with patients, which is very important to them and to us.”
Pharmacists are also partnering with physicians and nurses to adjust patients’ medications when appropriate. A good example of how this collaboration works is switching patients from IV medications to oral medications, which can help get patients home faster. By working side-by-side with physicians, nurses and pharmacy technicians, in addition to powerful surveillance software, the pharmacists are also able to respond quicker to changes in patients’ response to medications, which helps lead to better outcomes.
Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.