As the popularity of telepharmacy grows and becomes implemented in more and more settings, the inherent benefits of this modern system become increasingly apparent. The importance of pharmacist-led medication reviews can help to reduce system and personnel overload and minimize errors by providing patients with reliable medication protocols.
One of the most common concerns regarding pharmaceuticals is a drug-related problem or DRP. A variety of things can lead to a DRP, such as polypharmacy, the use of multiple medications simultaneously. Polypharmacy is a serious concern, whether it’s a complicated case requiring combinations of powerful medicine or an elderly individual with multiple common prescriptions and a specific administration schedule.
Further adding to potential complications are the medications that a person might already be using when they arrive at the hospital. Identifying possible contraindications (adverse reactions caused by mixing certain drugs) is one of the pharmacist’s key skills. A careful review of a person’s medical history is a vital piece of information for providing safe patient care.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there is no fully standardized abbreviation language for some aspects of prescription medication. Lack of a standardized system can mean that confusion over a simple letter or number could lead to a mistake that jeopardizes the patient.
Because the risks associated with DRP’s can be so severe, it is imperative for a hospital medication management system to have thorough precautions in place. Following these precautions is where pharmacists and telepharmacists fulfill their crucial role by reviewing the medications, doses, and possible contraindications relevant to each specific patient. By having this critical checkpoint in place, patients will experience a higher quality of care, and the likelihood of a DRP occurring decreases significantly.
Another benefit of using telepharmacy systems, besides having pharmacists review each medication order, is the ability to spread the review workload out during peaks in hospital admissions. Since a telepharmacy system allows the pharmacist to work remotely, hospital administration can scale up or down as needed. On-demand flexibility such as this will enable managers to proactively maintain realistic workloads for their employees and ensure that patients will receive the highest level of care during the hospital’s busiest times.
If that isn’t beneficial enough, a telepharmacy-oriented process can help management cover staff vacation or illness shortages and outsource workloads during software conversions and updates. Plus, the system is operational 24/7.
As hospital and patient care technology advances, we will continue to find ways in which remote telepharmacy can serve providers and patients with reliable and safe outcomes. By utilizing telepharmacy services, we can provide all patients, especially the most vulnerable, with a superior level of care.
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