Telepharmacy is a broad term used to describe the use of the internet to provide pharmaceutical care to a patient. Patient medical records can be quickly and securely accessed online, so a pharmacist and patient can be in two separate locations and communicate via video in real-time.
The Prescription Center, located inside the new Mequon Health Center, works through telepharmacy technology. It is similar to a traditional pharmacy experience except it is a remote dispensing site. The pharmacist verifies your prescription and consults with you from a separate location.
Let’s take a closer look at how the Prescription Center works.
When dispensing the medication, the technician takes specific images of the medication with a high definition camera. The technician takes photos of the medication inside of the vial, including photos of individual pills. They also take photos of the label on the vial.
Those images are immediately transmitted to a pharmacist at one of the Froedtert & MCW retail pharmacies.
- The prescription is entered into the system.
- The prescription is prepared.
- The pharmacist verifies the prescription remotely.
- The patient and pharmacist consult via video chat.
This all happens within a matter of minutes.
The Prescription Center Standards of Care
The off-site pharmacist has access to your electronic medical record. This means they can see the medications you are already taking or have taken in recent years. They check for drug interactions.
The pharmacist provides the same clinical counseling you would receive in person but the interaction takes place via video.
The pharmacy technician guides you through the process from start to finish and hands you the prescription at the end of the transaction.
“The Prescription Center operates under the same standards of care as all Froedtert & MCW retail pharmacies,” said Jordan Spillane, ambulatory pharmacy manager. “Telepharmacy technology is fairly new in the state of Wisconsin and a new concept to pharmacy in general. We are forward-looking and willing to take on this innovation,” she said.
The innovative technology is coupled with a high-level of service. The pharmacy technician goes through advanced training to manage the Prescription Center.
“We know it is important to have that ‘human touch’ through the pharmacy technician,” said Dale Drizd, director of outpatient pharmacy operations. “And they have the ability to assist with technology glitches should they arise.”
Expanding Pharmacy Services
The Froedtert & MCW health network will have 12 retail pharmacies when Drexel Town Square Health Center opens in January 2018. Mequon is the first with telepharmacy. The location creates a more convenient option for some patients.
“Until the Prescription Center opened, our closest pharmacy to Mequon was about a 20 minute drive,” said Drizd. “Patients would go to St. Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend or Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls.”
Telepharmacy technology allows the Froedtert & MCW health network to expand pharmacy services in a cost-effective manner, while still providing the same care and services as a traditional pharmacy.