Video Conferencing Eases Staffing Shortages

Published Online: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Follow Pharmacy_Times:

In Kansas, licensed pharmacists can use state-of-the-art video conferencing technology to supervise registered pharmacy technicians in rural hospitals as the technicians prepare prescriptions.

According to the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy’s December 2011 newsletter, the practice allows patients in rural or medically underserved areas to have pharmacy services without the presence of an in-house pharmacist. The decision is part of a growing telepharmacy trend toward easing staffing shortages in medically underserved or rural areas, according to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

“Telepharmacy expands patient access to pharmacy consultations and vital health care services in rural and medically underserved areas,” said Everett McAllister, RPh, MPA, executive director and chief executive office of the PTCB, in a press release. “PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technicians play a significant role in this safe and cost-effective alternative, providing patients with maximum coverage.”

To date, State Boards of Pharmacy in North Dakota, Montana, Illinois, South Dakota, Texas, Idaho, Utah, Kansas, and Hawaii have adopted telepharmacy regulations. Recently, Connecticut proposed an expansion to the telepharmacy pilot program it began in 2011. The pilot program allows pharmacy technicians to administer intravenous medications and treatments at patients’ homes under a licensed pharmacist’s video and audio supervision.

“Pharmacy technicians who are appropriately trained and credentialed are being used in innovative practice models, which allows us to expand pharmacy services to underserved areas and enhance patient care throughout Montana,” said Ronald Klein, RPh, executive director of the Montana State Board of Pharmacy. “The use of pharmacy technicians allows the pharmacist to spend more time with the patient, providing drug information, answering questions and promoting compliance with the drug regimen. Certification provides the public and pharmacists with additional assurance and confidence in their pharmacy provider, regardless of their proximity to the pharmacy."

Related Articles
Despite an unprecedented boom in using technology to provide health care, telemedicine remains the red-headed stepchild of the industry.
Pharmacy operations can be improved by investing in continuing education for pharmacy technicians.
Binita Patel, PharmD, MS, explains the role telehealth and telepharmacy will play in patient management.
Nearly 1000 independently owned pharmacies have closed over the past decade, leaving 490 rural areas without access to retail pharmacy services.
Latest Issues
  • photo
    Pharmacy Times
    Health-System Edition
    Directions in Pharmacy
    OTC Guide
    Generic Supplements
  • photo
    Pharmacy Careers
    Specialty Pharmacy Times