Riverwood offers quick access to prescription medications

Riverwood pharmacy team members, from left, Spencer Page, Lisa Ferguson, Stacy Mross-Smith, Travis Sporre and Judy Fossum

When you or a family member has a new acute illness, Riverwood Healthcare Center offers quick access to prescription medications via the InstyMeds Dispenser, an automated prescription dispensing cabinet, which is located in the family waiting lobby next to the emergency room. This is a good option for patients who are being treated in the same day clinic or emergency room after hours when pharmacies are closed.

Riverwood Pharmacy Director Spencer Page explains: “It’s like a vending machine for prescription drugs, containing many common acute care medications in common amounts. For example, the machine includes antibiotics to treat an infection, but not medications that would be taken on an ongoing basis, such as for diabetes or heart disease.”

Page adds: “It can be very convenient for patients since they can pick up their prescription and go straight home instead of going to a pharmacy. Also, many emergency department visits occur in the evening or night-time hours after pharmacies close, so this is a convenient option.”

How it works
The provider places the order for a medication that is in the machine and counsels the patient on the medication’s use. Patients may go to the machine and verify their identity and pay the copay via credit or debit card. Then, the machine dispenses their medication on the spot.

There is an interface between InstyMeds and Riverwood’s electronic health record that uploads the patient information and insurance. When the order gets to InstyMeds electronically, the order is processed and insurance is billed.

If there is a problem with the insurance or anything else, the machine will alert the patient before dispensing the medication. There is a phone on the machine that the patient may call to clarify the insurance if needed. A live person will help patients with the billing so they will pay their usual copay.

Riverwood operates retail pharmacies in Aitkin and Garrison. The Aitkin pharmacy is located within Paulbeck’s County Market, and the Garrison pharmacy is located next to the Riverwood  Garrison Clinic on State Highway 18. For more information, go to www.riverwoodhealthcare.org and click on “clinic & pharmacy”.