Telehealth and Virtual Pharmacies

Closeup of bottles of pills As telehealth implementation continues to increase in practices across the country, the discussion around the benefits to providers and patients becomes even more prominent. Yet even with the topic trending across various areas of healthcare, there is one category that continues to fall behind as its use grows: pharmaceuticals.

The pharmaceutical stage of care is a critical part of the overall healthcare picture, as it impacts discharged patients who need medication, existing patients who have medical changes, patients who have ongoing medical needs and more. The benefits to using telemedicine in these situations are endless and can create a positive impact for providers, patients and pharmacists alike.

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Taking a look at the impact on the provider side of care, using telehealth solutions to interact with pharmacists can help improve readmission rates, as those specialists can be a part of the critical discussion around drug management guidelines and dosing, which in turn will affect the number of patients that return to the hospital because they’re received proper treatment post-care.

The other important impact is on the cost side, where some healthcare practices cannot afford a full-time pharmacy team. In this case, telehealth solutions can be used to refer to or consult pharmacists as needed, so providers can still give the highest-quality care for medication-related scenarios.

All of these benefits to providers have a direct impact on patient care because of their ability to improve the overall experience from seeing the doctor to post-care at home. This creates a better, more well-rounded care team for patients while also extending services.

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However, there is an even greater scope to consider, as telehealth implementation on this end of care also impacts and improves the pharmacies themselves.

Think about the number of pharmacies that exist across the nation. There are numerous options for consumers to choose from at any point, so how can pharmacies keep patients coming back? By building relationships with them. Telehealth offers an excellent way to do this, as pharmacists can offer better patient follow-up and be more readily available to answer questions, which can include being available outside of typical retail hours.

Beyond that, this type of implementation can help with professional development for pharmacists themselves. The beauty of virtual communications is that pharmacists can not only consult providers and patients, but also each other. This means that as newer pharmacists are learning and developing, they can rely on more experienced pharmacists to answer questions and guide them.

As the discussion around telehealth continues, it’s important to consider all the parts of the healthcare lifecycle that it can impact, not just the direct providers and patients. Implementing these types of solutions in the pharmaceutical industry can have a huge impact on the overall system, improving care and reducing costs.

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