Pharmacy automation has transitioned over time as technology has opened new doors – counters, robotics, packaging, inventory and customer management systems. Technology today has added telepharmacy as a competitive option to the industry.
Telepharmacy broadens access to pharmacy services through the use of state-of-the-art telecommunications technology. Simply put, telepharmacy allows retail pharmacies to successfully do business without requiring a pharmacist to be present on site.
How it works:
At the local retail store - Registered pharmacy technicians receive prescriptions from patients and dispenses the medications. A remote pharmacist then checks for any potential drug interactions against the patient’s medication profile. Once confident in the drugs to be dispensed, the pharmacist uses videoconferencing equipment to examine digital images of the technician’s work to ensure its accuracy.
In a hospital or institutional setting - Very similarly, a registered pharmacy technician dispenses medications which are reviewed and checked by a pharmacist via videoconferencing equipment.
Alternately, if the retail site does not maintain drug inventory or has no registered pharmacy technician, pharmacists may package medications at the remote site and send by courier to the telepharmacy.
What is not different:
In all telepharmacy situations, patient education and consultation remains a high priority. Once a pharmacist has approved dispensed drugs, they interact with the patient through audio and visual connections. Pharmacy management software is available from multiple sources that can integrate with existing packages.
Patients who receive telepharmacy services maintain the same level of professional care. The pharmacist’s responsibility for the proper preparing and dispensing of drugs does not change in any way when services are via technology versus face-to-face.
In addition, patients’ right to confidentiality is also maintained, and their sense of confidence can be secure, according to a study by the North Dakota State University which reported a lower overall rate (1.0%) in medication dispensing error rates between remote telepharmacy sites and comparison sites.
Telepharmacy is cost-effective, shows a high level of client satisfaction, but most importantly, breaks the barriers of distance and increases small and rural communities access to quality health care close to home. Contact us for more information.