When I first took a pharmacy survey that would match my interests with a specific pharmacy field, I was sure I would get retail pharmacy. Imagine my surprise when my top choice was outpatient pharmacy. At the time, I didn’t even know what an outpatient pharmacist did. However, the more I researched, the more interested I became in this field.
Outpatient pharmacies are extensions of hospitals. Outpatient pharmacists ensure that patients leaving the hospital fill their prescription and do counseling so they understand how to take their medication. This way, a patient does not leave the hospital and wait before filling their prescription. In addition, under the federal 340B Dug Pricing Program, drug producers must provide outpatient drugs to healthcare organizations at a lower price, allowing hospitals with outpatient pharmacies to provide more affordable medication (1). This increases patient satisfaction, as it is one less errand for the patient before they can head home. Outpatient pharmacies benefit hospitals as well because they can increase revenue when patients purchase medication through hospital pharmacies (2). Finally, another major benefit of outpatient pharmacies is the ease of communication between a patient’s practitioners and pharmacist.
Outpatient pharmacies support patients that are ready to be discharged. The pharmacists working in outpatient pharmacies communicate smoothly with patients’ practitioners and offer affordable medication. They are the last step before a patient can safely go home with their medication. Learning about outpatient pharmacists caused me to shift from being interested solely in retail pharmacy to hospital pharmacy as well.