Telehealth is taking over in healthcare. From psychiatry appointments to regular doctor visits, patients more and more are taking advantage of the ability to access medical treatment without ever leaving their homes. In the pharmaceutical industry, this is happening too. So, what is telepharmacy and how is it affecting patient access to medication? Below we’ll talk about:
- What is telepharmacy?
- How does telepharmacy benefit patients?
- How can you get a job as a telepharmacist?
Let’s get started!
What is telepharmacy?
Telepharmacy is exactly what it sounds like – pharmacy services that patients can access via telephone or other technology, such as messenger or live video chat. The concept originated in the early 2000s and is growing in popularity. Just like telehealth is taking over almost every aspect of healthcare, pharmacy is no exception. It is just another way that technology is expanding healthcare services beyond the walls of facilities.
What are the benefits of telepharmacy?
There are three main benefits to telepharmacy from both a patient and provider perspective.
- Increases access to pharmacists in rural areas
One of the most important benefits of telepharmacy is that it expands pharmacy access to people in rural areas. For example, people who live miles and miles away from town can’t drive to pick up their prescriptions. Now they can receive mail order prescriptions and ask questions about their medication without leaving their house.
- Reduces the need to invest in more locations
Another benefit to telepharmacy is that it reduces the need for pharmacy chains to build more locations in areas that are lacking. This obviously saves these companies money and reduces wasteful development.
- Makes it easier for patients to ask questions without traveling
Like we mentioned above, telepharmacy makes it easier for patients who have questions about their medication to ask without traveling. This is especially helpful for those in rural areas, but also for those who don’t get around easily, like handicapped people or elderly patients. Telepharmacy allows people who are having an adverse effect or who aren’t sure they are taking their dosage property to ask questions without having to drive to the pharmacy. Some medications require counseling before being administered, so this is another area where telepharmacy comes into play. Having a scheduled tele-appointment saves both the pharmacist and the patient a lot of time. Instead of waiting for their turn at the pharmacy or being placed on hold, they can hop on a scheduled call or video chat.
Who works in telepharmacy?
Any pharmacy can decide to add tele-access. You will start to see more and more telepharmacy options available to patients all across the country. Whether the pharmacy is independent, a chain, or within a larger health system, the option for telepharmacy is becoming more readily available. Even some mom and pop pharmacies are starting to offer it! It’s very common in hospitals and nursing homes too. Like anything else in healthcare, the government regulates telepharmacy services. Each state has its own regulations surrounding telepharmacy, so some states may allow more advanced capabilities than others. For example, if you are working in a pharmacy in one state but a patient who lives in another state reaches out to you, what happens? Exactly how far telepharmacy services reach and what specific services are offered can change across state lines.
Are there telepharmacy travel positions available?
Although we don’t have specific telepharmacy positions listed on our website, we do have an entire section dedicated to travel pharmacy and travel pharmacy tech jobs. If you check out those job descriptions, there’s a good chance you will find a travel position in a pharmacy that offers telepharmacy services!