What is a home infusion pharmacy?


Quick Answer

Home infusion pharmacies treat patients at home by administering non-oral medications through intravenous catheters, intramusucular injections or other means. Most private insurance plans cover these services, according to the National Home Infusion Association, or NHIA.

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Full Answer

Infusion pharmacies are state-licensed to perform home infusion services, as the NHIA explains, but they often also opt for third-party accreditation. While accreditation is optional, some insurers may not offer coverage to non-accredited pharmacies. Established hospitals, such as Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic, provide infusion pharmacy services. Additionally, other health care providers and privately operated compounding pharmacies also provide these types of services.

Regardless of location, the pharmacy must observe the same standards in preparing and administering medications. They must prepare and maintain materials in a sterile state, according to the NHIA, and they must administer them on an appropriate schedule in the correct dosages.

Trained nurses usually perform the infusion, and while some pharmacies employ their own nurses, others contract with other agencies. In some instances, as the Cleveland Clinic notes, nurses train patients to administer their own medications.

Home infusion frees patients from extended hospital stays when they are otherwise unnecessary. This reduces health care costs and improves the quality of life for patients, notes the NHIA. Medical providers commonly use home infusion to administer intravenous antibiotics, but it is also useful for chemotherapy, treatments for chronic diseases and numerous other health problems.

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