Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization that includes has 146 hospitals and 2,600 clinical sites in 19 states and Washington, D.C.
Ascension recently implemented a national unified branding of its health systems and is working to standardize pharmacy practices across its health system as the hospital industry continues to shift its focus toward ambulatory care.
Ascension, late in 2020, launched a new pharmacy brand, Ascension Rx, designed to connect physicians and pharmacists to improve patient care. Ascension Rx functions as a high-touch clinical model centered on the patient-clinician relationship. Ascension Rx’s services include specialty medication services, medication packaging and delivery, infusion therapy and medication management.
Ascension recently opened a pharmacy hub in Austin, TX, to connect pharmacy services at Ascension’s hospitals and clinics as well as pharmacy services for patients at home.
Austin was chosen for the pharmacy hub because of its central location in the United States and for the strong presence Ascension already has in Austin, said Lynn Eschenbacher, the chief pharmacy officer. The hub is opening with 15 employees and expects to build to 50. The 30,000-square-foot facility is close to the Austin airport.
Ascension Rx intends to manage patients’ prescriptions in and out of the hospital, and in and out of its clinics. The hub will serve as a specialty pharmacy for Ascension patients, will provide longer term medications such as infusion therapies, and will package patients’ medications in dosing packs that have all the medication for that time and date in one sealed package. It also will serve as a distribution center for Ascension’s hospitals and clinics.
The center is designed to fill 5,000 prescriptions per eight-hour shift, and additional shifts will be added as its service expands. There’s room to add more fulfillment lines.
The Pharmacy Services Center will house Ascension Rx’s patient engagement center. Ascension Rx also is putting pharmacists inside its specialty care clinics, such as oncology, rheumatology, dermatology and infectious diseases.
Takeaway: Ascension Rx fulfills 1.7 million prescriptions a year, but it expects with the hub to expand to 4 million prescriptions next year