Keeping Connected

Cross-Hospital Collaborations Lead to Launch of Cheshire’s First Retail Pharmacy

The Cheshire Medical Center Pharmacy team.

One day after Cheshire's Pharmacy held its grand opening on October 28, 2019, Ashley Perham, lead pharmacy technician, was stocking a display of stuffed animals by the front door. Behind her stood sparkling shelves of over-the-counter medicines, from pain medications to first aid supplies and more.

“Everything is coming together really well,” says Retail Pharmacy Manager Chris Saunders, walking through the retail section of the new pharmacy. Saunders joined the project in June 2019, after many years as an in-hospital and retail pharmacist. “Ashley’s done a tremendous job setting up the front end. Soon we’ll have gift cards and local flowers.”

Things like loving gifts, cards and flowers are important features for the pharmacy, located in the hospital’s former gift shop, just off the central lobby. The pharmacy’s goal is to provide patients and visitors with a thoughtful and comprehensive set of services.

This includes filling prescriptions for patients of Cheshire and its satellite locations, as well as current and retired employees, but also connecting with patients’ providers to clarify prescriptions as needed.

Patients can book a brown bag lunch with Pharmacist Raymond Thompson to discuss their medications. The pharmacy offers eight types of vaccinations with no appointment needed. It will also be a certified drug take-back location.

This full, human-centered approach comes, in part, from the many collaborations behind Cheshire’s first in-hospital pharmacy.

“The project has been a partnership between Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Cheshire the entire way,” says Curtis Gibbon, director of retail pharmacy at D-H, which operates three retail pharmacies and oversees the Cheshire pharmacy. “The common goal was to increase and improve the level of service for Cheshire patients. And every person involved saw that through with enthusiasm across the two hospital systems.”

He noted that Melissa Siciliano, Cheshire’s director of pharmacy, was instrumental at forging the relationships, connecting D-H leaders such as Linda Sawyer, senior director of Retail and Specialty Pharmacy, with Cheshire leaders, including Paul Pezone, vice president of Support Services & Technical Operations.

As planning began, D-H Project Manager Kate Reed provided crucial leadership in connecting all the moving parts. “We could not have done this without her,” says Saunders.

In addition, weekly phone calls with Pezone, Paul Roth, Cheshire’s facilities engineering director, and David Quigley, vice president of clinical operations, kept the project pointing in the right direction.

Tina Hale, administrative assistant support services and Ed Hale, master carpenter, provided guidance for construction, helping secure local vendors to build custom cabinetry and shelving; install LED lighting; craft custom signage; and arrange patient waiting and consultation areas for privacy and warmth.

“At the grand opening, you could see all the little details come together,” says Gibbon. “The space isn’t sterile. It’s cozy and real, there to serve patients.”

“What we hear is that people are grateful for the hospital to have a pharmacy,” Saunders added. “It feels very exciting to be here for them.”

The Cheshire Medical Center Pharmacy is open Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm, and Saturday, from 8 am to 4 pm. The pharmacy is closed on Sundays and holidays. Pharmacists can be reached at 603-653-3785.