I wanted to write about how pharmacist consultations have evolved with virtual consultations during the pandemic. I work in a pharmacy that does mail order medication, and we have seen an uptick in filling prescriptions by this method due to social distancing and shelter in place orders. By having the consultation done virtually, I can see it help with patient therapy adherence with their medication. Virtual consultations, also are referred to as telehealth medicine, can be preformed by doctors, nurses, or pharmacists. I want to look at the pharmacist interactions using this method of medicine, since this is what I am familiar with.
I have read on comments that telehealth consultation and collaboration between pharmacists and providers enables a way to navigate the COVID-19 crisis and other potential pandemics to protect immunocompromised patients. This was important for me to think about, as they would be the ones needing more attention, while trying to limit exposure due to having a compromised immune system. I believe this shows that there is a benefit of this practice of care.
Pharmacist interventions related to patient care I can see there may be differing outcome with the care of a patient’s therapy. When looking at outcomes in a study, pharmaceutical counselling contributes to both reducing health-care costs and improving quality of life for individual patients. So not only are the results helping in the quality of life health of a patient but would contribute directly to healthcare costs associated with not having a decline of health or additional treatment. To support the decrease in costs that a pharmacist could prevent by consulting, the decrease of adverse drug events show improvement with health and less involvement with the proper consults done by a pharmacist.
Now that I have seen that there is differing outcomes when looking at the involvement of pharmacists in a patient care with consulting on medication, I can see how telemedicine can be a option for consultations. One perspective I think can influence the usage with telehealth would be the level of being comfortable in someone’s home. This could show that patients would be more apt with contacting their pharmacist and asking questions they may not be comfortable with, when they are not in a home setting.
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 also has added a layer in the need of continued therapy management and medication adherence, while being contained in a more stay at home and social distance environment. Also, when looking at whom would be more apt to use or not use telemedicine, I have put together a list of some factors that could add to a person’s acceptance in wanting (or not wanting) to participate in telemedicine:
- City/Rural home
- Access to internet
Also, health specific questions would be answered on if they take their medication as intended, and how many issues they have in result of not taking their medication due to not consulting with a pharmacist. Adhering to medication with the association with telehealth would see a potential of less health episodes. Also, could this be applied to situation like mail order pharmacies. Regarding the recent pandemic caused by COVID-19, virtual consultations help with social distancing. And finally provide a better, larger network of support that is more available and accessible.