Magazine article Drug Topics

On-Line Counseling

Magazine article Drug Topics

On-Line Counseling

Article excerpt

Three pharmacists have started what may be the first on-line pharmacy consulting service for the general pubic. "Ask the Pharmacist," sponsored by the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and the SPRY (Setting Priorities for Retirement Years) Foundation, has started a six-month trial on CompuServe, following a 30-day debut in January. The trial runs through the end of the year.

"We wanted to see what kind of need exists for community consulting," said Armon Neel, president of Institutional Pharmacy Consultants in Griffen, Ga., and one of ASCP's three on-line R.Ph.s. during the initial trial in January, Neel and co-consultants Stephen Feldman (ICPS Inc., Boston) and Harlan Martin (Pharma-Care, Westfield, NJ.) went from sitting around to answering 50 messages a day in 30 days. "Ask the Pharmacist" is available to any CompuServe subscriber as part of SPRY's Retirement Living Forum but is not advertised.

While patients in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are monitored by a consulting R.Ph. every 30 days, patients in assisted living and home care don't have that kind of care, Neel said. "We're hearing from people on 15 or 16 prescriptions plus half a dozen OTC meds."

Contacting the three pharmacists takes a computer, a modem, and a CompuServe subscription. The cost is $9.95 per month for basic CompuServe services, plus $4.80 an hour to plug into the Retirement Living Forum, which covers various topics of interest to older consumers.

"Ask the Pharmacist" users get a message/bulletin board, a library with pharmacy-related data that can be downloaded, and a "conference room" for live monthly discussions on specific drug-related topics. …

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