HCA Florida North Florida Hospital (NFH) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday morning for its new outpatient retail pharmacy.
NFH opened a new pharmacy to improve access to pharmaceutical care for its patients.
“We are not trying to replace CVS and Walgreens, the hometown pharmacy you use every day,” said NFH Chief Executive Officer Eric Lawson in an interview. “We are trying to make it convenient for our patients to get their antibiotics and medication, and we want to educate our patients on what medicine they are taking home with them.”
NFH’s outpatient pharmacy offers access to numerous services, including new prescriptions, prescription refills and transfers, medication counseling, vaccines, and medical supplies.
According to an NFH press release, the pharmacy utilizes software interfaced with the hospital’s medical records system. Pharmacists will have access to patient’s hospital medical records and prescription refill histories from other pharmacies.
The outpatient pharmacy has been a project idea for nearly a decade. After overcoming numerous obstacles, including the COVID-19 pandemic, construction began a year ago and finished in December 2022.
The pharmacy held a “soft opening” on Dec. 15, allowing patients at the hospital to visit and retrieve their medication.
“It is very surreal,” said NFH Director of Outpatient Pharmacy Andrea Koff in an interview. “I can’t believe it is finally happening. It has been nothing but great. The patients love it, and we want to let them know that we don’t want to be your preferred pharmacy; we just want to fill your scripts, so you don’t have to stop on the way home.”
Koff explained the pharmacy’s education component has been helpful for patients.
“We want our patients to understand what they are taking, how to take it, and which medications are important,” she said.
The pharmacy’s staff consists of two pharmacists and two technicians. The current hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, but there are plans to extend the weekly hours and possibly open on Saturday mornings.
“This is our 50th anniversary at the hospital, and so we are just really excited about that, as well as opening up a new service for our community,” Lawson said.
The pharmacy is located next to NFH’s main campus at Cara Plaza West, 916 NW 66th St. For more information, visit the hospital’s website.