By now, everyone—including your patients—has heard of telemedicine, a convenient and effective way to access a variety of healthcare services. Telemedicine, of course, includes telepharmacy. So, you’ve probably thought about adding telepharmacy to add to your lineup of services for your patients. What are some of the benefits? And what are some of the drawbacks? Let’s take a quick look.
On the plus side
Reduced operating costs:
Telepharmacy can deliver significant savings by acting as a resource to provide pharmacy consultations, medication verification, and medication guidance. Also, with telepharma capabilities, one skilled pharmacist can provide care to multiple sites. By reducing travel time, your patients can save money and time that they would otherwise spend coming to your pharmacy.
Increased patient satisfaction:
More access to medication as well as helpful health information results makes your patients happier. You will have more time to spend reviewing medication and counseling your patients while they’re in the comfort of their own home. They also won’t have to rely on understanding complicated package-insert instructions. For example, your patient needs an inhaler. You can demonstrate how to properly use it and explain why proper technique is important.
Better patient adherence:
You’ve likely heard these comments from your patients: “My medicine makes me feel sick,” or “I don’t understand these instructions,” or “I have too many pills and it’s too complicated.” Knowing that help is just a phone call or Zoom call away (instead of a car trip or bus ride) may be the difference between your patient’s regimen changing to help improve adherence vs. maintaining a regimen that is not conducive to adherence. Because most pharmacies deliver, there is no need for patients to drive to your pharmacy to pick up their meds, which makes adherence easier. Of course, increased patient satisfaction and saving money also improves adherence.
On the down side
Believe it or not, telepharmacy works best delivered by a pharmacy team located all in one place. It makes a measurable difference to have professionals in one place working together. Many telepharmacy providers have a workforce that’s home-based or working remotely, creating barriers to collaboration.
Telepharmacy requires the digital transmission of personal and health-related information. Obviously, it’s essential to keep this huge transfer of data safe and under control.
Telepharmacy can be challenging to put into place. It’s complex and requires a team of tech-empowered, licensed, and experienced pharmacy experts, so partnering with the right telepharmacy provider with the appropriate level of expertise and experience is essential.
The Top 4 Telemedicine Sites
Be careful when choosing your telemedicine partner. As with all situations, different providers have different specialties, so do extensive research, ask detailed questions, and get referrals from other community pharmacists you trust.
Amwell ranks high for different specialties, with a 24-hour service for urgent care, therapy, psychiatry, plus access to online specialists.
Sesame Care offers affordable and easily accessible health care with top-reviewed doctors and nurses. Labs are also available. This provider ranks high for choice of physicians.
Teledoc works well with insurance, and offers general medical, routine primary care visits, mental health, specialist and expert opinion, and wellness care.
LiveHealth Online offers Cuidado Medico, which allows your patients to interact with the LiveHealth Online app in Spanish and to visit a Spanish-speaking physician. It offers primary care, psychology, psychiatry, and allergy services.
A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.