For many patients and healthcare providers, access to healthcare is a serious concern.
There are an estimated 16,131 health care professional shortage areas in America. Pharmacists are currently innovating solutions to improve care and healthcare access for patients around the country.
My name is Erin Schreiber and I am currently in my fourth year of pharmacy school at The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. I am currently employed as a Pharmacy Intern at a community pharmacy. After graduating in a year I hope to continue practicing as a pharmacist in the community and look forward to utilizing innovative practices such as telepharmacy.
Telepharmacy Improves Access to Care
Through the use of telepharmacy health services, pharmacists can now reach a larger number of patients. In addition to improving access to care, telepharmacy helps improve health outcomes and keeps older adults in their homes for a longer period of time.
A More Active Role for Pharmacists
Telepharmacy provides an opportunity for pharmacist to serve a more active role as a healthcare provider. It allows the pharmacist to spend less time dispensing medications and more time practicing at the top of their healthcare training. By working alongside other healthcare providers, pharmacists have the ability to solve drug related problems before they reach the patient. It is estimated that the United States spends $300 billion per year on drug related problems. This total includes medication non-adherence, a problem telepharmacy can help combat.
Telepharmacy = More Clinical Services
Pharmacists practicing in the community setting interact with patients more than any other healthcare provider. Telepharmacy provides more time for a pharmacist to provide clinical services in the community such as MTM services, immunizations and health screenings for chronic diseases. These interventions not only have the potential to solve drug related problems, but also have the ability to positively impact health outcomes for patients. With healthcare costs rising alongside chronic diseases in the United States, there is a need for innovative healthcare providers.
Telepharmacy is creating a new role for pharmacists. I challenge every pharmacist and future pharmacist to recognize the need for telepharmacy and the opportunity it is providing our profession.
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