Case Study: Remote Work Increases Productivity for Medication History Technicians

Remote medication history technician operations are an effective alternative to in-person patient interviewing, according to a case study presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Midyear 2021 conference. The study investigators concluded that these operations could continue to be promoted, utilized, and expanded as necessary to support the efficacy of ongoing remote operations.

The case study details the methodology employed by a large academic medical center to convert its medication history technician program’s workflow from on-site with in-person patient interviews to completely remote services. According to the investigators, a leadership committee instituted remote operations for clinical medication history technicians so as to support the transition to online care.

Key steps in this transition included identifying and procuring the necessary technology to facilitate remote work for the medication history technicians, developing procedures for contacting patients/caregivers remotely to conduct medication history interviews, and training technicians on new technology and workflow.

The technology implemented, as well as the new workflow, was thoroughly reviewed to ensure HIPAA compliance. The pharmacy manager and lead technician also tracked productivity metrics prior to the shift to remote services in order to properly evaluate any shifts in productivity following the change.

The remote workflow process was implemented in March 2020, with changes and associated training completed in under 2 weeks to respond to the emergent and dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the investigators, following the shift to remote operations, productivity increased from an average of 3.89 to 4.63 medication histories a day per tech, and acceptance of the pharmacy bedside discharge medication delivery program increased from 57.1% to 70.9%. No major issues in workflow were reported or identified following the implementation of the change.

The pharmacy manager overseeing the medication history program met with the technicians virtually at regular intervals in order to receive feedback on the changes made and troubleshoot any identified problems. The medication history technicians reported a high level of satisfaction with the remote workflow, with the largest barrier reported being the ability to successfully reach patients via telephone.

REFERENCE

Gutta BN, Parmiter C, Street AF. Impact of remote medication history technician workflow during COVID-19 on the bedside discharge medication delivery services acceptance rate. Presented at: ASHP Midyear 2021. Accessed December 3, 2021.