In order to reduce adverse drug events and impact patient safety, many states have enacted statutes that require a licensed pharmacist to review all first dose medication orders. Prior to the change in law, nurses and pharmacy techs were allowed to review medication orders. These new regulations have created challenges, particularly for small rural hospitals that may not have licensed pharmacists on duty 24/7.
Because it is not always economically feasible for a hospital to hire, train and staff licensed pharmacists around-the-clock, particularly in rural areas, hospitals are employing remote telepharmacy services so they can affordably deliver 24/7, real-time medication order review and verification by a licensed pharmacist. One such hospital reached out to the CPS Telepharmacy Solutions team to analyze their pharmacy operations and recommend a solution that would expand pharmacy services 24/7 while lowering costs and enhancing patient care.
Cost-Effective 24/7 Pharmacy Services
Following a thorough review of the hospital’s pharmacy operations, CPS Telepharmacy teams recommended RxRemoteSolutions, an efficient off-site medication order verification and processing service operated by CPS, to function as a third shift for the hospital pharmacy. Utilizing RxRemoteSolutions, the CPS Telepharmacy team:
- Built a pharmacy system that paralleled the hospital’s existing system, giving the RxRemoteSolutions pharmacists access to the hospital’s IT system and ability to interact with it as if they were onsite;
- Trained hospital pharmacists to meet the hospital’s competence and training requirements;
- Created a detailed database of the hospital’s pharmacy protocols, rules, preferences and guidelines, giving the RxRemoteSolutions pharmacists the institutional knowledge needed to seamlessly integrate into the hospital’s pharmacy operations;
- Implemented on-demand pharmacy operations, remote order entry and verification, and medication guidance from licensed pharmacists.
With RxRemoteSolutions in place, the hospital pharmacy achieved immediate results that included:
- 45% reduction in pharmacy operating costs;
- Seamless integration of remote on-call licensed pharmacists into the hospital’s pharmacy operations;
- Consistent level of quality, patient protection and regulatory compliance while meeting the hospital’s medication turnaround time and pharmacy performance metrics.
For hospital pharmacies like this one that needed to reduce costs and enhance patient care, engaging telepharmacy services through partners like CPS Telepharmacy can effectively expand their delivery of pharmacy services with licensed pharmacists while saving the hospital significant expense over the cost of adding additional in-house pharmacy staff.
What to Look for in Telepharmacy Providers
When considering telepharmacy services to support your pharmacy’s needs, do not underestimate the importance of security, competency and reliability. Make sure the potential telepharmacy provider delivers the following:
- A fully licensed pharmacy staff that reviews and enters all medication orders;
- Pharmacy staff that works from a secured, supervised central location;
- Screening for medication errors and intervening with prescribers to improve patient safety and care quality;
- Around-the-clock availability to meet all clinical and medication needs;
- Strict compliance with The Joint Commission, CMS and state and regulatory agency requirements;
- HIPAA certified technology that is equipped with redundant disaster recovery systems;
- Specified teams of pharmacist who work with sites that support the development of a relationship with nursing staff;
- Daily, monthly and annual reporting that demonstrates the impact and value of a telepharmacy provider.
It is understood that cost containment is a necessary part of any healthcare solution. While all telepharmacy solutions can provide some form of cost containment, organizations need to take caution not to give up quality at the cost of patient care. Many telepharmacy providers can promise cost reductions, but organizations need to balance between low cost providers and telepharmacy providers who can help lower cost without decreasing the quality of care provided.
Telepharmacy services can help hospital pharmacies significantly reduce medication dispensing errors, adverse drug events, readmissions and emergency department visits. Telepharmacy services help hospital pharmacies create an integrated care experience by improving patient access to pharmacists who provide counseling and education regarding how and when to take their medication. Patients do not have to travel to talk to a pharmacist, and adherence and health outcomes are improved.
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