Memorial wins an award for improving health care

YAKIMA – Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital has been named a winner of a 2014 Qualis Health Award of Excellence in Healthcare Quality, one of six healthcare organizations in Washington to be recognized for achievements in improving healthcare quality and outcomes in 2013.

Qualis recognized Memorial for an initiative to re-label some unused medications for patient use after the patient is discharged, saving patients money and unnecessary trips to the pharmacy.

“We’re thrilled that Quality Health recognized Memorial for this effort,” said Heather Gamache, assistant manager of Memorial’s Pharmacy Department. “Ultimately, this is about patient satisfaction – saving patients money and making their lives easier – and we will continue our efforts to ensure all of our patients’ needs are met while they are at Memorial and after they’ve returned home.”

In 2012, Memorial’s pharmacy noticed a gap in patient satisfaction when multi-dose medications that were prescribed and used during the patient’s stay, such as inhalers, ointments and nasal sprays, were thrown away when the patient was discharged. New medication prescriptions were then being issued to be refilled at an outpatient pharmacy.

To alleviate this waste, Memorial initiated a new process to evaluate all such medications to see if staff might re-label the unused portion to send home with the patient for continued use – saving unnecessary trips to the pharmacy. Memorial also determined the savings to patients would be $190,260 per year on just 22 multi-dose medications measured.

“By keeping the patients’ best interests in mind through process improvements, the hospital saved medication costs and increased patient safety by relabeling existing medications,” Qualis said in recognizing Memorial.

Qualis Health, based in Seattle, is one of the nation’s leading healthcare consulting and care management organizations, working with clients throughout the public and private sector to advance the quality, efficiency and value of healthcare. In Washington, Qualis Health serves as the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC) for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) and provides case management and utilization management services to Washington State Medicaid.

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