Insights - Article

Aligning Telepharmacy Opportunities with Your Strategic Plan

By Cara Rozell, PharmD • June 16, 2016

Align your telepharmacy goals with your strategic plan.

Telepharmacy is already having a significant impact on the delivery of care in the inpatient environment.  It is being used to provide clinical expertise in isolated areas.  It is freeing up on-site pharmacists to provide clinical services.  And it’s providing coverage when volume does not warrant hiring a full-time pharmacist.

Expanding Telepharmacy Applications

However, telepharmacy services can be provided in multiple care settings and in different aspects of hospitals or clinics.  It can provide after-hour hospital service, remote verification of compounding, as well as MD consultation. There is also a growing interest to provide services in the retail setting such as MTM visits, remote dispensing, remote entry/central fill, and consultations with providers and patients.

As a baseline, both retail- and hospital-focused telepharmacy services can provide order review, product selection check, and provide drug information to providers and patients. However, there are many expanded services that can also be offered, including medication counseling, follow up phone calls to assess compliance, and medication reconciliation.

It is critical to align these opportunities with your pharmacy’s — and your organization’s — strategic plan.

Strategic Planning is Critical for Success

Strategic planning is crucial for integrating telepharmacy into your organization. Key components in planning are:

  • Understanding if your intentions are strategic or tactical
  • Learning your facilities’ strategic planning process
  • Identifying tactics for integration of telepharmacy into your department

Strategic considerations include:

  • Probability of success
  • Opportunity to reduce cost or enhance margin
  • Logistics
  • Risk tolerance of your organization
  • Focus on the mission (alignment with organization)

Understanding the strategic planning process of your organization is key to demonstrating alignment—showing how your goals help meet larger goals.  For an integration to be successful, it requires planning for capital needs years in advance, considering barriers, and measuring your impact and market results. Given its ability to extend valuable expertise at a lower cost or for additional revenue, telepharmacy is growing rapidly.  However, to increase the chances of success, there must first be alignment with the evolving needs and interests of your organization.

Cara Rozell, PharmD, has been with PipelineRx since 2010, and is currently serving as the West Region Manager. A graduate of the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, she has over 10 years of hospital experience, with a background in neonatal intensive care and pediatrics.