Study: ePharmacy reduces costs, processing time

Via Christi Health's ePharmacy has expanded service, reduced processing time and reduced costs for five Via Christi hospitals, according to a new study.

With ePharmacy, pharmacists working from remote locations review and verify physician medication orders. That can speed delivery of medication to the hospitalized patients and provide pharmacy coverage outside of regular pharmacy hours.

The study, published in the Sept. 1 issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, looked at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, Via Christi Hospital on Harry, Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, Via Christi Behavioral Health Center _ all in Wichita _ and Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan.

The study results showed that medication order processing time was reduced on average from 26.8 minutes to 14 minutes, that stat-order processing time was reduced from 11.6 to 8.8 minutes, that drug therapy improvements documented by pharmacists increased by 42 percent and that nurses were more satisfied with pharmacist availability for consultation.

Jim Garrelts, director of pharmacy for Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita, led the research.

Via Christi said the hospitals saved money by ensuring appropriate dosage and avoiding adverse events. It estimated the cost savings at $21,772 a week, or $1,132,144 annually.