Contracting for Telepharmacy Services
January 2013 - Vol. 10 No. 1 - Page #24

Several states in the US currently permit remote pharmacy services. Drivers for creating these services include the shortage of pharmacists in certain states, the need to properly address National Patient Safety Goals for safe medication use, and ensuring optimum benefits are accrued from technology investments, such as bedside bar code scanning. Robust telepharmacy services can be a key element of effective medication management, ensuring more patients are protected by the benefits afforded through pharmacist review.

A substantial number of hospitals in rural settings are currently experiencing a scarcity of local pharmacy services. In Kansas, the lack of pharmacists has been particularly challenging; at least 30 of the state’s 105 counties have only a single pharmacist, and six counties have none.1,2 Kansas is also home to over 80 critical access hospitals, many of which have no access to full-time pharmacy coverage. In situations where a hospital has limited or no pharmacy services, the majority of medication preparation duties must be completed by nurses, who may not have been trained in the appropriate management of medications. Clearly, this scenario is not ideal. 

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