Magazine article Drug Topics


Magazine article Drug Topics


Article excerpt

Hospital R.Ph.s

break ground as televideo counselors

Some Utah hospital pharmacists are pushing the profession's envelope, using technology that permits them to provide face-toface counseling to patients at a site miles away.

Using televideo and remotecontrol dispensing technology, pharmacists based at the main outpatient pharmacy at the University of Utah Hospital & Clinics in Salt Lake City can now dispense medications and counsel patients at a clinic about 45 miles away in Park City. The R.Ph.s and the patients see and hear each other over computer-controlled video monitors.

With the svstem on-line less than a week, the outpatient R.Ph.s were enjoying the novelty, said Jim Jorgenson, director of pharmacy services. "It's set up so the PC rings like a telephone, which is answered by pharmacists assigned to the outpatient pharmacy," he said. "They're all anxious to answer the call. Right now it's fun, but we'll see what it's like when the volume picks up to 50 or 60 calls a day."

While the Park City hookup is a pilot test site for the hospital, Jorgenson anticipates that the televideo and remote dispensing could well be extended to rural branch pharmacies where nurses and physician assistants now dispense medications and to an urban homeless shelter clinic that has no pharmacy. The hospital has been working with the state pharmacy board, which has no regulations or rules covering the new telepharmacy technology, he added.

"I'm not sure [the hospital] is interested in competing with retail pharmacy. But I think this would be fairly attractive to retail pharmacies, especially where branch pharmacies have contracts with provider pharmacies and where retail pharmacies have nursing home contracts," said Jorgenson. …

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