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Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital recipient of Award of Excellence

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.”

In 2012, Memorial’s pharmacy noticed that multi-dose medications 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, causing patient dissatisfaction.

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 a healthcare consulting and care management organization working with clients throughout the public and private sector to advance the quality, efficiency and value of healthcare.

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