PHS responds to growing demand for infusion

Friday, May 23, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – With more and more patients being discharged to the home, Pediatric Home Service (PHS) was feeling the pinch in its infusion department.

“We saw a need to expand to accommodate these patients,” said Dana Akerson, marketing supervisor. “We are also planning for the future to make sure we are able to continue to provide services for these medically complex patients.” 

In April, PHS completed an expansion of its infusion pharmacy. The new space allowed the provider to bring its infusion staff—which has grown from five infusion nurses to 11—into one space and doubled its clean room from two hoods to four allowing PHS to serve more patients.

“I was adding staff but there was no room for them to work in the clean room so it wasn’t helping,” said Jill Liebers, pharmacy manager. 

PHS was founded in 1990. In addition to infusion, it offers respiratory and specialty pharmacy services, and private duty nursing. There’s not necessarily a lot of crossover among patient groups, but having a full range of services under one roof is beneficial, said Akerson.

“If we have a respiratory patient who suddenly needs an antibiotic, we can step in and provide that in the home,” she said. “It saves dollars and stress on the family.”

A big reason for the growth in pediatric home infusion: Physicians have become more comfortable with the idea, says Liebers. And it’s obviously better for the patients, says Akerson.

“They are able to go to school or family functions if they are at home,” she said.

PHS also plans to ramp up its infusion outcomes tracking, said Akerson. The provider has its own assessments for nursing visits and electronic medical documentation that allows for pulling reports from the data.

“We’ll be able to start working with our professional healthcare partners, tracking antibiotics and really focusing on what’s best for the patients,” she said. “We are trying to create a stronger partnership model when we are taking care of these kids at home.”