The Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph Gift Shop and Outpatient Pharmacy is now open, providing staff and visitors with a convenient place to purchase flowers, gift items and toiletries as well as over-the-counter and prescription medications.
While the concept of having a retail gift shop and an outpatient pharmacy is nothing new for Ascension Via Christi hospitals, housing both in a single location is.
"As they say in the real estate business, location, location, location," says Mark Gagnon, the director of ePharmacy for Ascension Via Christi who, along with Jim Garrelts, vice president of Pharmacy, led this part of the project. "This space was an ideal spot because of its visibility and easy access for associates, patients and visitors."
Susan Delling, director of Guest and Volunteer Services, agrees, noting, "That's what has always made this a great location for visitors wanting to pick up flowers, new baby gifts and other items on their way to see a loved one, as well as for associates wanting to drop by for some 'retail therapy.'
"Everyone loves knowing that the net proceeds of their purchases go to support patient care initiatives at our hospitals, so it's really a gift that gives twice."
The Outpatient Pharmacy occupies 700 square feet of the newly remodeled first-floor site, which features flowers and gift items as customers enter the lobby-facing entrance and a well-secured and brightly lit pharmacy to the back.
It is the second Outpatient Pharmacy for Ascension Via Christi's Wichita hospitals, as the first location has been located near the patient discharge area at St. Francis since 2013.
Both pharmacies are designed to provide a convenient way for hospitalized patients to get any medications that they may need once they leave filled before they go.
"It's one less step for a patient or family member to have to worry about as they are being discharged from the hospital or ER," says Gagnon. "By making it easier, it also helps increase the likelihood of patients following their discharge plan."
Like its St. Francis counterpart, the newly established Outpatient Pharmacy at St. Joseph is a Dispensary of Hope, a program established by Ascension to provide prescription medications at no cost to patients who meet the need criteria. Last year, more than 12,000 prescriptions were filled through this national Ascension program.
The Outpatient Pharmacies are designed for use by discharging patients, patients receiving medications through the Dispensary of Hope program and Ascension Via Christi associates, medical staff, volunteers and their dependents.
"The ultimate goal is to improve patient care outcomes and reduce the need for re-admission to the hospital," says Gagnon. "That's a win-win for everyone."