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Telepharmacy Outlook for 2019

In the era of value-based care, telepharmacy services have been shown to help reduce overall healthcare costs and drive better patient outcomes. Centralization of pharmacy operations, sometimes referred to as clinical telepharmacy, allows hospitals and health systems to utilize a centralized hub to manage costs, increase quality, improve order entry and verification, and standardize policies and procedures. Telepharmacy services also support better patient care by freeing up time for pharmacists to work on clinical patient care initiatives.

With these benefits, it’s not surprising that the demand for and growth of telepharmacy services continues in both hospital and health systems as well as many large national retail chains. In rural areas where a one-way trip to the pharmacy could exceed 50 miles for some patients, telepharmacy helps narrow the distance between patients and pharmacists.

Telepharmacy services are becoming far more prevalent across the country with several factors propelling the growth, including:

· Need to bring down cost of care without negatively impacting quality;

· Development of new technologies that support telepharmacy;

· Openness of patients and payors to accepting telepharmacy services.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) encourage the use of technologies in healthcare like telepharmacy and telemedicine to improve outcomes while reducing cost. In telemedicine, CMS now allows physicians to bill for remote physiological monitoring in chronic care and has issued new fee schedule codes last year. CMS has also proposed new codes that would expand the use of:

· Telemedicine, allowing providers to bill for peer-to-peer internet consultations;

· Virtual check-ins;

· Remote evaluation of pre-recorded patient information, also called asynchronous telemedicine.

Though telemedicine and telepharmacy have different applications in the delivery of healthcare services, CMS’ move to spur providers to use these new technologies to deliver medical care more efficiently is a sign of the times that these technologies here to stay as important and clinically valid tools.

Telepharmarcy and Medication Adherence

While telepharmacy is not a new concept, it has consistently shown to be effective as a tool to improve care, efficiently coordinate pharmacy services, and increase medication adherence. A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine[1] in 2018 found that telepharmacy helped boost drug adherence. In a randomized trial, patients with poorly controlled hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes, increased their medication adherence by 4.7 percent when placed into a pharmacist-led behaviorally-tailored intervention. Patients receiving this specialized intervention also had a significant decline in emergency department visits compared with patients without the pharmacist-led intervention.

State Licensure Requirements

As more data emerges on the positive impact of telepharmacy services on patient care, cost, and outcomes, telepharmacy will continue its upward growth curve. Hospitals, health systems, and retail pharmacies (both inside hospitals and traditional brick and mortar retail pharmacies) looking to expand their utilization of telepharmacy services need to take note of complex challenges including following correct licensure requirements in order to stay compliant with state regulations. Most states require at least one pharmacist to be licensed in the state where the patient resides. For multi-state pharmacy practices, the pressure for pharmacists to be correctly licensed is augmented across all of the states where the pharmacy serves patients. Compounding the licensure issues, the rules and regulations authorizing telepharmacy are not uniform across states. Hospital and health systems delivering telepharmacy services to their patients need to have the right telepharmacy provider in place, one that is proficient in licensure and meeting all regulations across the states where their patient population resides.

Comprehensive Pharmacy Services

Comprehensive Pharmacy Services recently expanded its telepharmacy services division to meet the increased demand for telepharmacy support and has plans to double its telepharmacy staff. CPS Telepharmacy monitors 3 million medication events a year. The pharmacists, using proprietary technology in conjunction with the hospitals electronic health record (EHR), flag wrong dose or wrong drug and provide real-time data on patients, resulting in fewer adverse drug events, readmissions and emergency room visits. CPS Telepharmacy functions as a seamless extension of the client’s pharmacy staff, adapting to the specific needs of each facility, and meets all regulations overseeing telepharmacy service delivery.

For more information about how CPS Telepharmacy can help your organization improve patient care, bring down costs, improve medication adherence, and positively impact the overall operation, visit: https://www.cpspharm.com/telepharmacy.

 

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[1] Telepharmacy Boosts Drug Adherence https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/generalprimarycare/74417.

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2019

Tags: CPS Blog Posts