According to the ASHP hospital survey data, about 70 percent of hospitals with 600 or more beds have at least one on-campus retail pharmacy. But very few hospitals with 200 or fewer beds have retail pharmacies. "They just don't have the volume of prescriptions," Scheckelhoff said.
Convenience Cuts Two Ways
Convenience is a major factor in a patient's decision to re-fill a prescription, which poses a business challenge to some hospital retail pharmacies. "They may choose to have re-fills done closer to home," he said. "It may not be convenient for them to go back to a medical center."
St. Anthony's Medical Center in St. Louis has two retail pharmacies located in medical office buildings on the nonprofit hospital's campus. The 767-bed facility acquired one of the pharmacies in 2000 and opened a new site in 2012.
"Customer service is the Number One reason we put in the new one," said Dan Johnson, the hospital's director of pharmacy services. "These pharmacies meet the special needs of our patients."
Johnson said St. Anthony's retail pharmacies, which are staffed by the hospital, benefit patients through the teamwork between pharmacists and physicians. He cited as an example wound patients with compromised mobility, who can can have their medications delivered to their doctors' offices. Also, hospital pharmacies can stock products that are often not available at other commercial pharmacies.