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What is Telepharmacy?

What Exactly Are Telepharmacy Services?

Telepharmacy is broadly defined as the practice of pharmacy exercised from a remote location through telecommunications technology. Telepharmacists oversee multiple aspects of hospital pharmacy operations and provide support that propels hospital clinical initiatives. This arrangement helps facilitate quality patient care.

Telepharmacists perform the same work that on-site hospital pharmacists do. These tasks include:

  • Reviewing and verifying medication orders
  • Performing medication reconciliation
  • Identifying interventions for drug interactions and adverse drug events
  • Consulting with prescribers and nurses
  • Counseling patients regarding correct medication use
  • Providing specialized clinical services such as antimicrobial stewardship
  • Enforcing hospital medication policies and procedures
  • Verifying outpatient retail medication
  • Delivering comprehensive medication management

Telepharmacy can be transformative for hospitals and healthcare facilities that are struggling to overcome a variety of challenges. Telepharmacy support can provide vital resources to healthcare facilities that are needed to meet a variety of demands, such as staffing shortages or increased census.

Even if a local pharmacy appears to be meeting the demands of its healthcare facility, a well-resourced telepharmacy provider can provide dramatic, measurable improvements to clinical, operational, and financial performance. By utilizing a telepharmacy, facilities gain access to proprietary tools, resources, and a deep bench of experts that, when combined, ensure the patient receives premium quality care. A telepharmacy provider can often leverage their scale to provide services far beyond what a local pharmacy team can deliver themselves.

What Benefits Do Tailored Telepharmacy Solutions Provide?

No two organizations are alike. A properly structured telepharmacy solution is built on the understanding that each healthcare facility is unique. Consequently, the optimal solution must be built in consideration of the local caregivers, staff, and patient population. The proper solution considers site leadership goals, the skills and resources already at hand, and the needs and demographics of the population they serve.

For retail pharmacies, physician offices, individual hospitals, and multi-site health systems, telepharmacy is a smart, strategic resource that is increasingly attractive to healthcare leaders. Telepharmacy:

  • Provides vital relief in times of crisis
  • Extends staffing with off-site support from highly trained pharmacists
  • Reduces labor costs
  • Reduces readmissions and medication errors
  • Improves reimbursement rates
  • Improves HCAHPS patient satisfaction scores
  • Increases nursing and staff satisfaction
  • Advances clinical initiatives

A well-resourced telepharmacy delivers flexible solutions with both around-the-clock and on-demand support that:

  • Provides turnkey coverage during weekdays, weeknights, and weekends
  • Supports with emergency coverage during peak hours, callouts, staff shortages, and weather events
  • Supports the emergency department
  • Allows for seamless EHR transitions

Exploring the Staffing Difference

Operationally, a telepharmacy solution provides healthcare facilities with access to licensed pharmacists that deliver high-quality coverage. A centralized, off-site model allows for services to be provided for a fraction of the cost of full-time internal staff. Telepharmacists are trained on each facility’s policies, procedures, and dosing protocols, making the integration between the local and remote teams seamless.

The benefits of this structure are measurable. Telepharmacy allows for increased pharmacist involvement in medication education, which has proven to increase HCAHPS scores by up to 14.7%. [Source: American College of Cardiology, March 2019. J Pharm Pract. 2020 Sep 18]

Additionally, telepharmacy support increases pharmacist involvement in the discharge process, which has been shown to deliver up to a 52% reduction in medication-related readmissions. [Source: AJHP, May 2018]

CPS TELEpharmacy as Your Partner

CPS TELEpharmacy delivers on the theoretical benefits and value of telepharmacy to deliver measurable improvements to clinical, operational, and financial performance.

The CPS TELEpharmacy team works from a secure home office in Naperville, IL. This structure fuels collaboration and drives performance excellence. Our business model promotes shared expertise and 24/7 supervision to easily disseminate information, including any changes in policies or procedures.

The CPS TELEpharmacy team provides support for:

  • Admission medication reconciliation
  • Discharge medication reconciliation
  • Discharge counseling
  • Post-discharge follow-up

During daytime hours, CPS Remote Order Entry solutions optimize local staff to work on clinical initiatives that support and advance patient care and outcomes. During nights and weekends, the solutions ensure there are no gaps in pharmacist first dose review orders and helps decrease adverse events that can occur when nurses pull medications without pharmacy medication verification.

CPS TELEpharmacy teams work in tandem with CPS intuitive medication management platforms to optimize patient care. These include:

  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Opioid stewardship
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Patient discharge
  • Specialty pharmacy
  • Drug information

With expertise in best practices of over 27 Electronic Health Records (EHRs), the CPS TELEpharmacy team understands how to build order sets that decrease errors and improve quality metrics.

Powerful Results

In 2018, the average cost to a hospital for an adverse drug event (ADE) was $9,770. [Source: Bates DW, Spell N, Cullen DJ, et al. The Cost of Adverse Drug Events in Hospitalized Patients. JAMA. 1997; 277:307-311]

While the average value of an intervention is $95. [Source: Nesbit TW, Shermock KM, Bobek MB, et al. Implementation and pharmacoeconomic analysis of a clinical staff pharmacist practice model. [Source: Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2001; 58:784-790.]

CPS TELEpharmacy efforts reduce the occurrence of ADEs and related rehospitalizations with:

• 3 million medication orders processed per year
• 200 interventions a day and over 73,000 interventions per year
• 3.6 medication errors caught per day
• 45% average reduction in pharmacy operating costs

By engaging an expert telepharmacy support team such as CPS TELEpharmacy, hospitals and health systems can ensure excellence and seamless delivery of pharmacy services that advance clinical care at a lower cost.

For more information about CPS TELEpharmacy solutions, visit: 

CPS Telepharmacy

Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Tags: Telepharmacy, Blog