The current need for pharmacy services delivered via telemedicine spans a number of fronts. Across various types of facilities, many patients and residents don’t understand the reasoning behind their medications—often because it’s not explained well. This can lead to medication non-compliance, which in turn causes further medical complications.
For nursing homes specifically, issues can arise based on the fact that they aren't affiliated with a hospital and don’t have their own pharmacists. As such, it’s often the case that no one is reviewing medications or appropriateness of said medications based on labs. In most cases they’re simply filling orders without question and sending them back. Pharmacy review in this setting is mostly absent. Additionally, without proper review, dosing is frequently inappropriate which raises safety concerns, especially with an older population.
Along these lines, it’s often the case that a primary care doctor won’t do a complete medication history review, or if they do it’s not in the same capacity as a pharmacist might conduct. Patients might experience side effects because of medications, and getting rid of unnecessary medications due to a proper chart review could improve the health and well-being of patients or residents alike.
Beam’s clinical pharmacist program has answers for all of these issues. Our team provides pharmacist review of charts, which ensures the elimination of unnecessary medications and improves safety. We’ll also get involved in each of our partner facility’s antibiotic stewardship programs, helping keep facilities compliant with Medicare and Medicaid requirements and ensuring CMS does not refuse reimbursement due to non-compliance with stewardship stipulations. In regard to individual compliance, if the medication and the reason for prescribing the medication are explained well to an individual, they will often be more willing to take their medication. This can prevent any further complications or added unnecessary medications when the individual just wasn’t taking the original medication correctly.
These services and solutions offer a number of cost-savings as well. A number of government programs don’t reimburse for costs if stipulations aren’t met, or are requiring antibiotic stewardship programs in order to meet compliance demands. Quite a few facilities don’t have their own antibiotic stewardship team and thus resort to hiring outside help. Additionally, when the proper reviews are not in place, unnecessary labs and cultures are ordered when they’re not needed. When these are eliminated there are significant cost savings. Similarly, proper review and consultation by a pharmacist can cut down on ordering of inappropriate or unnecessary medication.
Findings from a study published in Consult Pharm drive the benefits of telepharmacy services home. The study found that “Telemedicine services provided after-hours by pharmacists in three community hospitals without 24-hour pharmacy services resulted in improved drug safety since prescribing accuracy was verified. Pharmacist interventions were five times greater for resolving drug-related problems with a telemedicine service compared with not providing telemedicine services. The estimated annual costs avoided were $261,109 per hospital by employing telemedicine services. Nurses’ satisfaction indicated that their level of comfort improved with the medication use process after exposure to pharmacist telemedicine services...Telemedicine has a promising role, to enhance pharmacists’ interactions with residents and nurses within the nursing facility.”
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