Frequently Asked Questions

Hospital Pharmacists

What do pharmacists do in the hospital?
At OSF HealthCare, our pharmacists review the medication history of each patient admitted to the hospital, looking for drug-drug interactions and drug allergies. They also monitor a patient’s kidney and liver functions and adjust medications as needed.
Do hospital pharmacists do the same work as pharmacists in drugstores?

Hospital pharmacists have much greater access to a patient’s medical history and providers. A drugstore pharmacist doesn’t have knowledge of a patient’s kidney or liver functions or a complete history of medications like a hospital pharmacist would.

Drug store pharmacists are also typically unaware of all of the medications a patient takes unless that patient uses the same drug store for every prescription.

Hospital pharmacists have access to a patient’s complete electronic medical record, including diagnoses, lab results, allergies and medication history and are able to take all of these factors into account when prescribing and dispensing medication.

Can I bring my medications from home with me to the hospital?

We do not use a patient’s home medications for safety reasons. OSF HealthCare providers will only administer medications we can assure have been properly stored, handled and prescribed.

We use a barcoding system to ensure each patient receives the correct medication and correctly document the medication in the patient’s electronic medical record.

Exceptions are made if a patient takes a specific formulation we do not have in the hospital. In these cases, a provider determines which medication will best suit the patient’s needs.

What do pharmacists do besides dispense medications?

Pharmacists at OSF HealthCare hospitals do much of their work on behalf of our patients behind the scenes.

They complete daily chart reviews of each patient admitted to the hospital, making recommendations to providers about adjusting, starting or stopping medications. They also participate in interdisciplinary rounding, working closely with nurses, physicians and therapists in developing and carrying out each patient’s plan of care.

Our pharmacists also meet one-on-one with patients who need additional education about their medication, including patients who take high-risk medications, to ensure they know how to take their medications safely and effectively after they leave the hospital.

How much extra does this cost me?

None of the reviews by pharmacists result in an additional cost to the patient.

We want to make sure each patient has the best pharmaceutical care possible while in the hospital and they leave with everything they need – including any medications or new prescriptions and the understanding of how to safely use those medications to manage their health at home.


Why aren't my medications free?

Costs of medications are determined by the drug manufacturer. Out-of-pocket cost is primarily driven by insurance providers.

If a patient cannot afford the medication they’ve been prescribed, OSF HealthCare pharmacists have the ability to connect them with certain resources to ease the financial burden, whether that’s applying for coverage through the manufacturer or prescribing a less expensive alternative when available.

For patients without health insurance, OSF HealthCare case managers are able to assist those who are eligible for Medicaid in accessing those benefits.

I’m taking my medicine. Why don’t I feel better?

Sometimes a medication may not help you feel better right away.

If you have questions or concerns about your medication’s effectiveness or side effects, discuss them with your pharmacist or provider.

In some cases, alternative medications may be available.

Can any pharmacist fill outpatient prescriptions?

Any licensed pharmacy can fill an outpatient prescription.

Patients should be aware what pharmacy locations and services are covered by their employer or insurance provider.

Out-of-pocket costs can vary greatly depending on your coverage.

Why aren't my infusions always ready when I arrive?

Whether infusion therapies can be prepared in advance depends on the drug.

Chemotherapy, for instance, usually cannot be prepared in advance because the dose will be determined by the results of lab work performed the day before or the day of infusion. Other drugs have a limited stability, meaning the drug degrades over time.

Once prepared, the drug remains effective only for a certain length of time, sometimes only a few hours. If not used, they must be disposed of.

For this reason, drugs with short stabilities are not prepared until a patient is present and ready for treatment.

Pharmacy Residency Program

What is the pharmacy residency program?
The pharmacy residency program is an additional one to two years of post-graduate study around pharmacy practices. OSF HealthCare has general pharmacy residency programs at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, as well as a pediatric pharmacy residency program in Peoria.
Do you sponsor Visas for the residency program?