Integrate Services Into Virtual Ambulatory Care Clinics


Assess medication-related issues, monitor patients remotely, and use mobile tools to conduct consultations.

According to a 2017 position statement from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, pharmacists can expand access to healthcare, improve patient safety, and improve patient outcomes by offering virtual services.1

Telepharmacy is the remote delivery of pharmaceutical care by qualified professionals.1 The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the amount of healthcare in the United States, which is being delivered using a variety of technological platforms.2 Now, through virtual diabetes outpatient clinics, pharmacists can play a significant role in the management of drug therapy (figure2-5).

Integration of MTM services via telemedicine

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telepharmacy services in the United States is estimated to have increased 78-fold. Virtual educational programs with drug information, tips for compliance, and advice on lifestyle changes to manage prediabetes and diabetes have been successful. Pharmacist-led multidisciplinary outpatient clinics have been associated with better diabetes control, access to health care, and medication adherence.2.3

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Rural areas have also benefited from remote drug therapy management (MTM). At a family medicine clinic serving 4 counties in Florida, the home care pharmacist and two home care residents entered into a collaborative agreement with physicians to offer MTM phone consultations and video telemedicine to patients with chronic illnesses. The pharmacist initiated the video calls and the doctors participated in the development of the care plan. In this way, they conducted 17 telephone and 7 collaborative telemedicine MTM video calls over a period of 2 months.4

Another success story is that of a healthcare system in Indiana that covered an 11-county region. There, pharmacists offered telephone and video MTM consultations. New patients, patients on opioid therapy and patients who needed training on new devices had to use the video platform. Virtual consultations included annual wellness visits, chronic disease management, and staying healthy. More than 900 telemedicine visits have been conducted and more than 10% have been completed on the video platform.4

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A large health care system in Utah offered pharmacist-led multidisciplinary MTM services as part of primary care. The multidisciplinary team consisted of a medical director, an advanced practice provider, a nursing supervisor, a pharmacist, and a social worker. Pharmacist MTM consultations increased by 22% and the healthcare system was able to close gaps in care for patients with chronic diseases.4

Doximity telehealth tools such as digital faxing, no-answer SMS, and video and voice calling on Apple and Android devices are available to all US pharmacists for MTM consultations at no cost. The Doximity application also offers medical news and networking opportunities.5

About the author

Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, PACSis a drug information pharmacist and contributor to Pharmacy TimesĀ® residing in South Florida.

references

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1. Alexander E, Butler CD, Darr A, et al. ASHP Statement on Telepharmacy. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2017;74(9):e236-e241. doi:10.2146/ajhp170039

2. Elnaem MH, Nuffer W. Pharmacists’ diabetes care and prevention services: advances during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for additional efforts in the post-pandemic era. Explore Res Clin Soc Pharm. 2022;6:100137. doi:10.1016/j.rcsop.2022.100137

3. Reardon J, Yuen J, Lim T, Ng R, Gobis B. Providing virtual outpatient care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: Factors and experiences from the UBC Pharmacists Clinic. Innov Pharm. 2020;11(4):10.24926/iip.v11i4.3432. doi:10.24926/iip.v11i4.3432

4. DeRemer CE, Reiter J, Olson JL. Conversion of outpatient pharmacy services to telemedicine while maintaining multidisciplinary collaboration. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;78(5):371-375. doi:10.1093/ajhp/zxaa427

3. Doximity Dialer now free for all US pharmacists and pharmacy students. doximity. June 15, 2022. Accessed July 10, 2022. https://blog.doximity.com/articles/doximity-dialer-now-free-for-all-us-pharmacists-and-pharmacy-students



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