I'm working here alone so it's particularly important to protect my own health so I can be here for my patients.
One of the biggest advantages of telepharmacy is increased access to healthcare for those who live in underserved areas, and the COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the importance of that access more than ever. I've had a number of patients transfer care to my pharmacy in the last couple weeks so they can use telepharmacy because they don't want to travel to the surrounding communities and put themselves at any more risk than they need to. Many of my patients would be at elevated risk if they were to contract COVID 19, and so they are particularly appreciative to be able to get their prescriptions and OTC products closer to home.
The biggest challenges during this time have been workflow related, as our company has moved to curbside pick-up, delivery, or mail only. I’m working here alone so it's particularly important to protect my own health so I can be here for my patients. I've strongly encouraged delivery or mail as much as possible, while attempting to collect payment information ahead of time for those doing curbside pick-up.
Communication with patients is more important than ever to make sure everything goes smoothly. We've also worked with our software vendors to come up with creative solutions to meet counseling requirements. It's taken a lot of creativity and flexibility, but our patients have been understanding in the process, which has been extremely helpful. We use telepharmacy for all our patients. With our new software, our equipment is touch-free and we are able to forward their counseling calls straight to the patients’ cell phones while they sit in their car waiting for me to finish up their prescription inside.
NuCara Pharmacy, State Center, IA, and Technician Member of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy