Insights - Article

The Telepharmacy Advantage For Rural Hospitals and IDNs

By Chris Ciolko, RPh • December 3, 2015

The Telepharmacy Advantage For Rural Hospitals and IDNs

In today’s healthcare environment, DOPs and hospital CEOs alike are searching for ways to improve their healthcare facilities. With today’s focus changing to one that is driven by value as opposed to volume, this can be especially challenging. One of the many challenges that hospitals may face when trying to meet these value-based standards is the inability to have full staff at all times or need for redeployment of existing resources.

While many hospitals have adequate resources and budgets, there are plenty more facilities that struggle from a lack of resources, which can lead to further problems. Specifically, many pharmacies either can’t afford or don’t have access to enough pharmacists in order to address the needs of their patients. Telepharmacy offers a solution to this issue as well as many others.

Tim Dunphy, the Director of Pharmacy at CGH Medical Center discusses his decision to adopt PipelineRx’s telepharmacy services into his pharmacy department in a recent article in Pharmacy Purchasing & Products. As a rural hospital, having 24/7 traditional pharmacy services is a challenging task. Using telepharmacy services allows for coverage during the hours when an on-site pharmacist can’t be provided, which increases staffing flexibility and workforce optimization. By having this extended support, the nurses can now give more attention to their patients.

Telepharmacy not only assists these small hospitals, but larger IDNs can also benefit. Telepharmacy services can help streamline workflows, improve patient outcomes and ultimately reduce readmissions. Using telepharmacy provides more time for the on-site pharmacist to handle the patient care responsibilities, such as patient engagement, discharge planning, or any of the other responsibilities that can directly impact the quality and experience of patient care. By making more time for employees to concentrate on other important aspects of their duties, the entire care experience is improved.

Tim Dunphy is just one of many DOPs that has realized the benefits of telepharmacy and has seen excellent results. The benefits telepharmacy services offer healthcare facilities are certainly not limited, and telepharmacy is clearly an industry that will continue to grow in order to meet the demands of a value-based system.

Chris Ciolko, RPh, is SVP of Business Development and co-founder of PipelineRx.  She has spent her entire career focused on pharmacy services and increasing the efficiency of healthcare service delivery, including positions with companies such as RPh-on-the-Go, Cardinal Health, Baxter Healthcare, Eli Lilly and V. Mueller.