ALASKA BRINGS IN WINNING TELEPHARMACY PROGRAM
Alaska Native Medical Center's telepharmacy programhas received top honors. It has won the AmericanSociety of Health-System Pharmacists Research andEducation Foundation Award for Excellence inMedication-Use Safety. The award program honors apharmacist-led multidisciplinary team for its significantinstitution-wide system improvements relating to medicationuse.
The aim of Alaska Native Medical Center's SouthcentralFoundation Telepharmacy Program was toimprove pharmaceutical care for >36,000 patients in a2000-mile area with limited transportation options. Medical services were provided bycommunity health aides, with physicians based in Anchorage making sporadic fieldvisits and serving as consultants via the telephone. The Southcentral Foundation'sVillage Pharmacy division filled scripts for chronic medications. Acute medications,however, were administered by nonpharmacy personnel.
The center's multidisciplinary team agreed that a telepharmacy solution would bestserve the challenges presented by distance, weather, and shortage of available pharmacyprofessionals. During its 2 years of operation, the program has made it feasibleto bring all medication procurement, storage, and accountability into compliance withstandards of practice; has improved access to needed medications; and has allowedAlaska Native Medical Center to track prescribing trends, collect data that were usedto further improve the medication-use safety initiative, and reconcile patient medicationsacross the spectrum of care.