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What is the Difference between Specialty Pharmacy and Infusion Care?

Do you know how many ways there are for patients to take their medicine? You might be surprised. It may be as simple as swallowing a pill or getting an injection at home. Sometimes it is more involved. Patients with complicated medical needs may require special medicine that is given within a vein, or intravenously.

The roles specialty pharmacy and infusion therapy play are important for patients and healthcare workers to understand. These services can lead to better health outcomes and lower treatment costs.

So What’s the Big Difference: Specialty Pharmacy vs. Retail Pharmacy?

There are differences between specialty pharmacies and traditional retail pharmacies. Retail pharmacies dispense medications for common illnesses such as colds, infections, and allergies. Specialty pharmacies coordinate care and medicine for patients with chronic and complex conditions. They also deliver medications that require special handling, storage and distribution.

A specialty pharmacy works with patients who are more medically involved or complex to improve clinical outcomes. Cancer patients, organ transplant patients, or those with inflammatory conditions are examples. These patients need close monitoring and regular contact.

Trained healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, nurses and dietitians help patients learn how to take their medicine. The healthcare team troubleshoots possible drug interactions, side-effects, or dietary concerns. They guide patients and caregivers with routine counseling and education services.

By monitoring adherence and watching for potential problem areas, the patient experience improves. Avoiding unnecessary costs and offering quality care leads to positive and successful outcomes. Communication, consistency, and quality of care services are priorities for specialty pharmacy.

OK – How does Infusion Therapy Work?

Infusion Therapy involves the practice of giving medication through a needle or catheter. Doctors often prescribe infusion therapy when oral medications cannot effectively treat a health problem.

Specialty pharmacy medications treat complex and chronic health conditions. Infusion therapy pharmacists and nurses administer specialty medications in a variety of settings.

Specialized clinical care along with educational support are important in infusion therapy care.  

Today, the healthcare industry’s focus on lowering costs has led to new opportunities for infusion care. Moving infusion from only hospitals to other settings including the patient’s home, is one example. The reach of infusion therapy services also extends into the specialty pharmacy space. These alternatives and home based solutions are viable options for infusion therapy.

Health systems, payers and manufacturers now realize significant cost savings. Patients leave the hospital sooner and often avoid hospitalizations altogether.

How Specialty Infusion Pharmacy Expands Opportunities

Today, infusion therapy is a valuable component in many broad specialty pharmacy offerings. Bringing specialty pharmacy and infusion therapy together creates opportunities. These partnerships lead to better patient care and build upon expanded roles for specialty pharmacy and infusion therapy.

Specialty patients receiving care through a specialty infusion pharmacy share many common needs and characteristics. For example:

  • Guidance with complicated medical needs.
  • High-cost complex medications that require added service and attention.
  • Consistent oversight from a variety of healthcare professionals

A Winning Approach in Specialty Care

Professional home care and alternate treatment sites for infusion therapy raises confidence for patients, payers, and providers resulting in successful patient outcomes and controlled costs.

Healthcare systems throughout the country can trust that infusion therapy patients will receive quality professional care at the lowest cost using a specialty infusion pharmacy.

Specialty pharmacy and infusion care are key partners in treating today’s complex health conditions. To learn more click here.

Amber Specialty Pharmacy offers professional infusion therapy services and care. We are ready to work with you in meeting your patient’s specialty infusion pharmacy needs.  

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